According to a British study that was released last month, women experiencing bothersome menopausal symptoms should not suffer in silence but rather voice their concerns to their healthcare provider as information on a range of treatment options are available. As we may all be aware, menopause is a gradual process that occurs at the average age of 51.5 years in women. Menopause is defined as the cessation of menses. The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) estimates that 80% of women going through perimenopause/menopause suffer from common symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, mood changes, insomnia, decreased libido, lack of mental clarity, and vaginal dryness. These symptoms on average last approximately 4 years but approximately 10% of women will have symptoms for up to 12 years.
Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of women still have been needlessly suffering the effects of menopause without the assistance of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) because of a very poorly conducted study called the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) that was released in 2002. The Women’s Health Initiative incorrectly implied that all estrogen increases the development of breast cancer after three years. This inaccurate assumption prompted women to discontinue all forms of hormone therapy and suffer the ravages of menopause and possibly increase their risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, dementia and many other diseases In other words, since all forms of hormone therapy were improperly black labeled as harmful as a result of the WHI findings in 2002, an estimated 50,000 women died prematurely from 2002-2009 “because they did not use estrogen” after hysterectomies. Could bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) have saved some lives? I also wonder how many uncounted women suffered from heart attacks, dementia, and other ailments associated with lack of estrogen.
What these reports fail to ever mention is that there are TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT types of hormone therapies – the natural benign bio-identical kind (BHRT) and the synthetic pharmaceutical type (HRT) causing symptoms. So, yes, the WHI is right in that synthetic hormones are harmful for you. They just forgot to mention the potential benefits of the natural bio-identical ones that are backed by scientific studies showing their safety and effectiveness.
A well-researched report in The New York Times, “Avoiding Estrogen Therapy Proved Deadly for Nearly 50,000 Women,” echoes Dr. Gino Tutera’s longtime concerns. Dr. Tutera is a board certified OB/GYN and champion of the usage of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) in the form of subcutaneous pellets. The article notes that according to a report in the American Journal of Public Health by researchers at the Yale School of Medicine, “the widespread rejection of all hormone replacement therapies among menopausal women has been misguided” since the WHI warnings against HRT were issued in 2002.
BHRT’s potential benefits are now documented in Dr. Tutera’s 10-year study titled “Marked reduction of breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer in users of bio-identical estradiol and testosterone subcutaneous pellets.” The results have been published in two prestigious medical publications – SEMAL, an international anti-aging medical journal [Sept. 2014], and Maturitas, a U.S. peer-reviewed scientific journal in 2009. This research shows that his pellet method of estradiol and testosterone therapy offers protection against the development of several forms of cancer.
Dr. Tutera’s retrospective study was done to prove that the usage of bio-identical estradiol, testosterone and micronized progesterone did not increase the incidence of breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer. The study affirmed that the re-creation of the normal physiologic hormonal environment through the usage of subcutaneous estradiol and testosterone pellets imparts a protective effect against the development of breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer. Furthermore, the usage of subcutaneous estradiol and testosterone pellets should be encouraged because of the positive effects seen on bone density [8.3% growth per year], the lack of adverse impact on serum lipids, and the lack of adverse effect on cardiovascular health and superior control of the symptoms associated with the menopause.
Aligned with Dr. Tutera’s passion for BHRT, the British study’s NICE guidelines recommend that healthcare providers:
- Offer women HRT for hot flashes and night sweats after discussing risks and benefits.
- Consider HRT to ease low mood that occurs as a result of menopause and consider cognitive behavioral therapy to alleviate low mood or anxiety.
- Explain that estrogen-only HRT has little or no increase in the risk of breast cancer, while HRT with estrogen and synthetic progestin (not bioidentical progesterone) can be associated with an increase in the risk of breast cancer, but any increased risk reduces after stopping HRT. Specifically, in women using synthetic progestins, it says there will be 17 more cases of breast cancer per 1000 menopausal women in current HRT users over 7.5 years (compared with no HRT).
- Understand that HRT does not increase cardiovascular disease risk when started in women aged less than 60 years and it does not affect the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Also ensure that women with cardiovascular risk factors are not automatically excluded from taking HRT.
I had the distinct pleasure of being trained in BHRT pellet therapy by its pioneer, Dr. Gino Tutera. Gino Tutera, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., is a board-certified OB/GYN who has practiced medicine “combining good science and common sense” for 40 years. Recognized internationally as a respected authority in the field of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, Dr. Tutera pioneered SottoPelle® in 2002. His subcutaneous method has liberated thousands of people from their debilitating symptoms and restored them back to health. For the past two decades, he has conducted seminars on his safe and scientifically proven approach while training hundreds of physicians throughout the world. He has authored three books on the subject: You Don’t Have to Live with It!, Life Regained: The Real Solution to Managing Menopause and Andropause, You Don’t Have to Live with It! The Science of SottoPelle®.
Sadly, the world lost this amazing man last month as Dr. Tutera died unexpectedly after a brief illness. His contribution to women’s health will never be forgotten. Dr. Tutera was an innovative leader in the vital role of subcutaneous bio-identical hormones in human health, anti-aging and disease prevention, and those of us who had the privilege of being one of his students are all the more blessed by the gift of knowledge he has instilled in us. May you rest in peace Dr. Tutera.
To Your Health,