I have not experienced menopause. I cannot begin to know how severe my symptoms will be nor how well I will tolerate them. I do not expect that I would take any hormone replacement as evidence exists to discourage that practice. I have read research on some alternative medicines or herbals and the results did not convince me of efficacy, safety or purity in those products. I am imagining that I will have to find ways to cope much in the way that women did long before the condition was named and treated. What I am pretty certain about, however, is that I will not look to Suzanne Sommers for my medical advice.
Ms. Sommers, of Three’s Company fame, uses pills and creams that are categorized as the undefined “bioidenticals” (meaning there is no real definition for that term). In other words, the substances are compounds of “natural” products that are supposed to mimic the bodies own hormones. Well respected medical organizations and the FDA have spoken out against any compounding, as it’s called. This includes ACOG and the AMA. (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association)
In an article from AP writer M. Marchione it was said that the women most likely to use “bioidenticals” which may be as harmful as traditional HRT, are well educated, affluent, professionals. WHAT? Well, one reason is clearly cost. They can afford it. Another given was that they do a lot of research into alternative treatments (me too, I call it prevention) and they believe that if it is natural it will not cause harm. That last part really dropped my jaw. I expected that college educated women would be aware that natural does not mean safe. The words are not synonymous for heaven’s sake. Natural means natural, simple as that. In fact, it is simple in nature but not in commerce because there isn’t a legal food or product definition for “natural”, other than the broad expectation that it be minimally processed. But I digress.
There are things that occur naturally that are plainly lethal. Radon gases anyone? Ok, how about mushrooms? Ever have blowfish for dinner?
There is no scientific evidence that any of the alternatives offered for menopause are safe or effective. That being said, a headline just this morning is accusing the FDA of not doing its job to make sure our pharmaceuticals are safe and effective either, so my best advice, (which can’t apply to menopause unfortunately) is don’t get SICK and my second best advice is do your research before you adopt a treatment method. NO ONE cares more about your body and your health then YOU and it is about time we all figure that out and do our homework.