Myth#1: The medications traditionally used for female hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are actually human hormones.
Facts: The usual HRT has been a combination of modified horse estrogen and artificial progesterone. Neither of these chemicals is an actual human hormone.
My Opinion: “Whenever possible, use the natural molecule”. That is, it is usually best to replace a deficient hormone with the actual missing hormone.
Myth#2: Female hormones are inherently dangerous.
Facts: Estrogen derived from horse urine, combined with a form of artificial progesterone called a “progestin” have been shown to increase the rate of breast cancer. 1 On the other hand, the best available science indicates that when women are given bio-identical estrogen combined with bio-identical progesterone, they actually have a slightly lower rate of breast cancer than women who take no hormones at all. 2
My Opinion: While no medical treatment is 100% safe, carefully prescribed bio-identical hormone therapy appears to have very limited risks. Patients who are suffering from symptoms or medical problems related to menopausal (or peri-menopausal) hormone deficiencies should seriously consider using bio-identical hormones to restore their health.
1. JAMA. 2008;299(9):1036-1045.
2. Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Nov 15;170(10):1257-67.