Hormone imbalances and options for treating menopause symptoms.
Scientists are hoping to some day design the perfect hormone. A hormone that will protect the uterus and breast from cancer, stop hot flashes, and prevent osteoporosis and heart disease.
But the fact is that hormones are complex and we don't yet know nearly enough about how they work.
We know that different hormones affect the body in different ways. For example, natural progesterone has a different effect on the body than synthetic progestin. Horse estrogen and synthetic estrogen don't act the same.
Also, you can't assume any of these are safe for postmenopausal women.
If you're going to supplement with hormones, remember that one size rarely fits every problem without side effects. Your decision should factor in your body, its metabolism, your lifestyle, and the reason you're taking these drugs.
The most commonly used hormones are forms of estrogen, progesterone, and sometimes testosterone. These hormones are often mixed and matched in a variety of ways and delivery systems.
The word natural is stylish. For some reason we think that anything is better or safer if it's natural. There are two ways to interpret this word when it comes to hormones.
First, natural can mean that a hormone is most like the hormones we have in our bodies, at either post-menopause or pre-menopause. With this interpretation, Premarin, which is made from the urine of pregnant mares and is in fact horse estogen, isn't natural - unless you're a horse.
On the other hand, the effects may have nothing to do with estrogen. For example, maybe the effects are coming from some other unidentified factor such as the soy the farmers are feeding them.
Another definition of natural is that a hormone is made form natural ingredients rather than in a laboratory.
In this case, Premarin does qualify as natural since horse urine isn't synthetic. The difference here is that most other commercial hormones are made from progesterone, which is synthesized in a lab from diosgenin obtained from wild yam or from soybeans.
This includes progesterone that is natural in that it's the same as the progesterone our bodies make and unnatural in the form of Provera.
Is a drug natural because it's made from a wild yam, or is it unnatural because it's then synthesized in a laboratory?
This whole thing can seem humorous. It makes me laugh when I see the makers of estradiol now advertizing it as "plant-based estrogen". Either way, a pharmaceutical company is going to use the definition that allows it to call its own product natural.
Calling these drugs natural hormones may make them sound less like drugs, but don't let anyone kid you, these are all drugs.
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