Perimenopause and Hormonal Balance from 30 to 50
Information from Dr. John Lee
Has your doctor prescribed estrogen or progestin (Provera, contraceptives, ect.) pills or patches to treat your GYN problems? If he has and you are finding that things are getting worse instead of better, Dr. John R. Lee’s latest book, “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About PREmenopause,” may be for you.
Dr. Lee together with Dr. Jesse Hanley and Virginia Hopkins discusses what Dr. Lee calls “estrogen dominance” and the effects it may have on your body. Estrogen dominance may be the true culprit when symptoms or conditions such as weight gain (despite exercise and dieting), breast tenderness or lumpiness, irregular or abnormal menstruation, thyroid dysfunction, fibroid tumors, PMS, fatigue, insomnia, loss of sexual desire, some cases of infertility and/or inability to maintain pregnancy, migraine headaches, and cold hands and feet occur.
Why do these symptoms occur? Most physicians typically prescribe pharmaceutical synthetic estrogens to treat many of these conditions. But it’s quite possible that your body already has more estrogen than it needs and what you really need is another hormone, progesterone (not to be confused with pharmaceutical progestins which can make symptoms such as abnormal bleeding worse). According to Dr. Lee, natural progesterone (available over-the-counter in the form of creams or by prescription at compounding pharmacies) can effectively reduce the symptoms of hormonal imbalances and the conditions that it causes by restoring the body’s natural hormone balance.
Dr. Lee’s view on natural progesterone is based on extensive medical research, as well as his over twenty years of promoting this method in his patients. According to the retired California family practice physician, the millions of women who are showing signs of estrogen dominance can solve their problems by rubbing natural progesterone cream into their skin for three weeks of each month.
If natural progesterone is so great, then why don’t more physicians routinely recommend it to their patients? Progesterone is a natural substance and natural substances cannot be patented for sale at profit which makes pharmaceutical companies uninterested in marketing and promoting natural products such as progesterone. And if pharmaceutical reps don’t market a product to physicians, many physicians will simply be unaware of its existence.
Most prescription estrogens such as Premarin, are chemically altered so they can be patented and sold as a drug. Dr. Lee does not totally discount the use of estrogen replacement, but he stresses that caution should be used when using estrogen urging that only estrogens that are chemically equal to the the estrogen produced naturally by the body be used in the smallest effective dose. Even women who have had hysterectomies, who experience surgical menopause, need to use progesterone to balance the estrogen in their body. Dr. Lee recommends natural estrogens which are available as pills, creams, and patches.
Dr. Lee began recommending progesterone to women for menopausal symptoms in 1979. After ten years of prescribing natural progesterone he realized that many of his patients who were using natural progesterone were not experiencing fibrocystic breasts, fibroid tumors, thyroid deficiencies, osteoporosis, or difficulty maintaining pregnancies to term.
Natural progesterone affects almost every organ in the body and the main function of progesterone is to help balance estrogen in the body. According to studies by Dr. Lee and other researchers, natural progesterone aids the body in producing its own estrogens and other hormones, and helps build bone (rebuilds bone lost to osteoporosis), burns fat, prevents endometrial and breast cancers, and helps embryos survive pregnancy. And natural progesterone has all these benefits without the side effects such as anxiety, fluid retention, depression, headaches, and weight gain, often experienced by women using synthetic hormones.
Estrogen dominance is only one factor that explains many of the symptoms experienced by women 10 to 20 years before menopause. Dr. Lee cites several other factors such as poor nutrition, stress, and environmental factors that can play a significant role in many women.
Dr. Lee’s thought-provoking book, “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About PREmenopause,” provides tips for finding a physician who will treat you naturally, as well as advice for educating your physician about natural progesterone and other natural treatments. He cautions the importance of reading labels when purchasing natural progesterone cream and stresses that because a product says it contains “wild yam extract” is no guarantee that it contains real natural progesterone. His book includes a list of recommended resources for obtaining the cream. He also suggests that saliva tests are a more accurate method of obtaining hormone levels than the traditional blood tests and offers information about getting saliva tests when your physician is uneducated about this type of test.
Dr. Lee is also the author of a monthly medical newsletter where he keeps you informed about the latest medical research about natural progesterone and other important topics. In this month’s newsletter he discusses the danger of fluoride in our water supplies and the surprising truth about its benefits to your dental health. Each newsletter includes articles by Dr. Lee, as well as a question and answer section, and resources for further information
Dr. Lee is not alone in his efforts to promote natural progesterone; Dr. Susan Love in her book, “Dr. Susan Love’s Hormone Book,” Christine Conrad in her book “Natural Woman, Natural Menopause,” and Raquel Martin in her book, “The Estrogen Alternative,” also discuss the importance of hormonal balance with natural progesterone.