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Bioidentical Hormones or Drugs for Menopause Symptoms?

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A friend of mine was complaining recently about the trouble with taking post-menopausal bioidentical hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. You have to apply them.

Turns out the nightly application of drops and creams in measured doses was driving her crazy. “Why,” she moaned, “Do I have go through all this?”

“Uh, because you feel better,” I reminded her for the umpteenth time. “And you’re probably more likely to avoid a range of diseases thanks to the many protective effects of estrogen.”

“Oh yeah,” she said. “I forgot.”

That’s menopause for you. Easy to forgot the symptoms when you don’t have them anymore. But what do you do if you’re still suffering through it?

Women have had two obvious choices when it comes to menopause relief: grin and bear it, or replace the estrogen you’ve lost through menopause, addressing a range symptoms in one just one hormone (the estrogen).

Ah, but now there’s a third option, thanks to the drug companies. If you don’t want to take estrogen and you don’t want to suffer either, your docs probably got a drug or twenty up her sleeve that can help. Yup, there’s a drug for pretty much every menopause symptom a woman can experience, including anxiety, moodiness, depression, insomnia, loss of libido, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness. There’s also a drug to treat most of the diseases we’re more likely to get as a consequence of estrogen loss (osteoporosis, dementia, cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure). Everyday, more are on their way.

The drug companies are promoting their multi-drug (polypharmacy) approach to managing menopause by demonizing estrogen. Despite the fact that the science is not on their side, they are arguing the risk of estrogen replacement is far too great as compared to its benefit. Better to take a pill for every problem, they say. Even if that means you’ve got a dozen or so problems and need a dozen or so pills.

That’s how to make money in the drug world. And that’s how to wind up with a tangle of drug-related side effects in a post-menopausal woman’s world.

So what will it be? Ignore the negative, unsubstantiated drug company propaganda based on how evil estrogen is, or make your own decisions based on the science—all of it? I mean, does any woman really care about self-empowerment anymore?

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