For years, doctors have prescribed unopposed estrogen (estrogen without progesterone) to women who’ve had hysterectomies. The thought process has always been, why give progesterone to patient who no longer has a uterus? Many practitioners still believe that progesterone is only necessary to the function of the uterus, so there’s no reason to prescribe it for a post-hysterectomy patient. I question this post-hysterectomy stupidity, it’s not wise to ignore progesterone and I’ll tell you why right now.
For women suffering with hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, and the inability to lose weight, hormone replacement therapy can be a Godsend. And for women who have had hysterectomies, having a doctor progressive enough to prescribe bio-identical progesterone along with estrogen can make all the difference in the world. They may start feeling better in as little as two weeks!
Many doctors today assume the hormone progesterone has only one use: to protect the uterus. But that is wrong, there are progesterone receptors throughout the entire body, and like every other human hormone, it has far-reaching effects. Does it make sense to deprive the body of the benefits of progesterone, just because one particular organ that used it was surgically removed? When you deprive a person of progesterone, an insufficiency develops and may lead to chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, brain fog, insomnia, hot flashes, inability to lose weight, dry skin, thinning hair, bone loss, PMS, fibroids or migraines. Progesterone is known to relieve these problems, whether or not a uterus is present. It can benefit men sometimes too!
There remains confusion about progestin (drugs) versus progesterone (a natural, bio-identical hormone that humans produce). Progestin drugs have been associated with birth defects, whereas progesterone is the major hormone of pregnancy. Progestins, in some studies, may be associated with higher risk for breast cancer, heart attack and stroke, whereas progesterone is not. Progesterone stimulates production of thyroid hormone, important to every aspect of life, whether or not a uterus is present. It’s needed for brain health; in fact many progressive doctors administer this post-stroke in hospitals. In men, progesterone inhibits 5-alpha reductase, which can help with BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia). Progesterone is also incredibly protective to breast tissue.
According to two large European studies, women with or without a hysterectomy who use bio-identical hormones have no increased risk of any disease. So even though the current medical “standard of practice” still says to give unopposed estrogen, and some physicians still adhere to this, other health practitioners and I completely disagree. (For the record, if people didn’t disagree with “standards of practice” we’d still blame ulcers on stress, and use leeches for blood lettings!)
We are born with many hormones and they are best kept in balance. It’s rarely a good idea to mess with Mother Nature!
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.