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Bioidentical Hormones on Oprah, Are They Safe?

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The Safety Of Bio-Identical Hormones

by Jeffrey Dach MD

You may have seen the recent Oprah Winfrey TV show with guest, Suzanne Somers, singing praises for biodentical hormones.  One question every woman asks:  What is the safety of bio-identical hormones as routinely used in medical practice?  Let's try to answer this question.

The Safety of Water compared to Bio-Identical Hormones

Water Droplet Impact Jeffrey Dach MD
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Water is safe, beneficial and required for health.  Yet, even so, drinking excess amounts of water causes death from Fatal Water Intoxication.(1)

Left Image: Water with Droplets Courtesy of Wikimedia

Similarly, just like water, bio-identical hormones are safe and beneficial when used at proper dosages.  Like excessive water, excessive hormone dosage may result in their own adverse side effects.  Excess estrogen, for example, causes fluid retention, breast sensitivity and enlargement, and  disordered mood. 

Humans Have Bio-Identical Hormones.

Another answer to the safety question is that bio-identical hormones are found in the human body naturally.  Any harmful substance in the human body would impair survival, and over millions of years of evolution would be eliminated by natural selection.  This is the basic concept of Darwinian evolution which is accepted by mainstream medical science.

A 50 Million Year Medical Experiment

Consider the following medical experiment, performed over the last 50 million years with the help of our friend, Darwinian evolution.(2)  Bio-Identical Hormones have been present in the human body for 50 million years, and we humans are still here on the planet.  I would consider that a successful medical experiment, wouldn't you?

Either Excess or Deficiency of Anything Can be Harmful

One of our routine labs tests called the Chem Panel measures electrolytes and glucose levels in the blood. The body automatically maintains these within narrow ranges to maintain health.  If levels deviate above or below these normal ranges, this causes a serious health disturbance.  For example elevated potassium levels causes cardiac arrest.  Magnesium deficiency causes muscle spasm and arrythmia. Excessive amounts of Vitamins A and D are toxic.  Hormones levels enjoy a considerably wide range of acceptable limits.  Even so, a deficiency or an excess of women's bio-identical hormones can produce adverse symptoms.  This is called estrogen deficiency/excess, and progesterone deficiency/excess, and they each have typical signs and symptoms easily recognized.(3)

Common Signs of Estrogen Deficiency (4)
 
Mental fogginess
Forgetfulness
Depression
Minor anxiety
Mood change
Difficulty falling asleep
Hot flashes
Night sweats
Temperature swings
Day-long fatigue
Reduced stamina
Decreased sense of sexuality
Lessened self-image and attention to appearance
Dry eyes, skin, and vagina
Loss of skin radiance
Feel balanced 2nd part of cycle
Sagging breasts and loss of fullness
Pain with sexual activity
Weight gain
Increased back and joint pain
Episodes of rapid heartbeat
Headaches and migraines
Gastrointestinal discomfort
Constipation

Common Signs of Excess Estrogen (takes longer to notice)

Breast tenderness or pain
Increased breast size
Water retention, fingers, legs
Impatient, snappy behavior, but with clear mind
Pelvic cramps
Nausea

Common Signs of Progesterone Deficiency

No period at all (no ovulation)
The period comes infrequently (every few months)
Heavy and frequent periods (large clots, due to buildup in the uterus)
Spotting a few days before the period. (Progesterone level is dropping)
PMS
Cystic breasts
Painful breasts
Breasts with lumps
Most cases of endometriosis, adenomyosis, and fibroids.
Anxiety, irritability, nervousness and water retention

Above list courtesy of Uzzi Reiss MD OB GYN. (4)

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Jeffrey Dach MD is a physician and author of three books, Natural Medicine 101, and Bioidentical Hormones 101, and Heart Book all available on Amazon, or as a free e-book on his web sites. Dr. Dach is founder and chief medical officer of (more...)
 

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