Power Surge News

Issue 13


A Free E-Mail Newsletter
of the Power Surge Women's
Midlife and Menopause Community
The Power Surge Web Site
Dearest (Alice Stamm)
Founder and Facilitator

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In my unquenchable thirst for more knowledge about this transitional stage we're going through, the following is excerpted from an book by Betty Kamen, Ph.D. "Hormone Replacement Therapy: Yes Or No? :How to make an informed decision about Estrogen, Progesterone, & other strategies for dealing with PMS, Menopause and Osteoporosis."

OTC (over the counter) and higher doses of natural progesterone creams can be obtained via Power surge's pharmaceutical consultant, Pete Hueseman, R.Ph, R.D. You can ask anything of Pete in the Ask The Pharmacist area of the Web site.

The entire site provides a wealth of information as to what method of treatment you can use to help you through this transition. You'll find many remedies in the recommendations area. Learn as much as you can about this process. By educating yourself, you'll be able to make the most informed decisions. You'll gain knowledge through research, through the guest expert chats in Power Surge, and the Web site's message boards.

Read on and understand, and more power to you for doing so.



Dr. Kamen writes:

"The word Progesterone was first proposed by William Allen and George Corner in 1934, when they isolated this newly discovered sex hormone. Since then, more than 5,000 plants have been identified as containing substances with progesterone-like chemistry. In 1943, Russel Marker successfully manufactured progesterone from the roots of Mexican yams. With minor conversion in the laboratory, the Mexican yam extract, diosgenin, has been made to match natural progesterone exactly. But the manufacture of cortisone and progestogens from the saw raw materials attracted far more attention. The neglect of progesterone led Dr. Dalton to refer to it as "the forgotten hormone."

"The success of many practitioners has helped us to catch up with this hormone. The spotlight has been turned back in progesterone's direction.

"When is the use of progesterone appropriate? Like nearly all of us, you may be among the women who could probably benefit from assistance, and progesterone could be the answer.

"R"eports of improved well-being with the use of transdermal natural progesterone are impressive. Less anxiety and depression, increased vitality and reduced sleep disturbances -- not to mention enhanced sexual libido -- are all benefits of a product with a track record of total *safety*!!!!

"Are you already on estrogen replacement therapy? Do you want to bail out? A slow weaning process is mandatory, preferably under a physician's care. If you are on Premarin, for example, you may be advised to cut down your intake by 10 to 15 percent each month simply by skipping days. [Alternating days may work better than dividing the tablets only because they are difficult to split]. As for patches, they can be worn for shorter periods of time, gradually diminishing the duration of their application.

"If, however, you have made the decision to continue or to begin the traditional form of hormone or estrogen replacement therapy [HRT or ERT], it should be clear that natural progesterone used in conjunction with estrogen is called for. Most physicians now prescribe oral progestogens with the oral estrogen pill. Try to avoid synthetic progestogens -- ask your physician to recommend natural progesterone. Although there is some uncertainty about absorbability withoral forms, it's possible to get good results with the right combination of diet, exercise and balanced estrogen-progesterone therapy.

"Robert Atkins, M.D., of NYC, prescribes estrogen for his menopause patients only if other tratments fail to reduce symptoms. He recommends just enough estrogen to cut problems to a tolerable degree -- not necessarily to eliminate them; he wants to keep the dose low. 'Natural progesterone,' he says, 'is an absolute MUST to accompany estrogen therapy. Patients report desired changes in a week or two of the combined therapy.' [Recovery takes longer with the use of natural progesterone alone, but avoids the possibility of side effects]. Dr. Atkins also recommends high doses of folic acid plus boron for anyone on estrogen replacement therapy. [Again, high doses of folic acid should only be taken under doctor's advisement].

"Another problem with synthetic progestogens involves glucose [blood sugar] metabolism. Natural progesterone is converted into corticosteroid hormones by your adrenal glands. These substances help to regulate your blood sugar metabolism. You may experience a drop in blood sugar if your progesterone is low. Low blood sugar causes the sensation of hunger, and you know how that feels -- you're ready to jump on your child or spouse for no reason. This scenario frequently occurs with the use of synthetic progestogens because the synthetics do NOT convert to corticosteroids [TO ADD INSULT TO INJURY, SYNTHETIC PROGESTINS LOWER YOUR PRODUCTION OF NATURAL PROGESTERONE LEVELS].

"Neils H. Lauersen, M.D., of New York's Mt. Sinai Medical Center, advises that synthetic progestogins may inhibit the concentration of natural progesterone, so hormone imbalances -- which may be *off* to being with -- are worsened.

[Any standard medical text explains that estrogen's maximum benefit for osteoporosis is no more than a temporary reduction in the rate of osteoporotic bone resorption.]

"Physicians are influenced, albeit inadvertently, by drug company advertising rather than by information in their own textbooks. Understanding the functions of the osteoblasts and osteoclasts, you can talk about bone loss to your physician with more knowledge. You might even tell your doctor that natural progesterone stimulates osteoblasts, and that you know that estrogen restrains osteoclasts, but only slightly, and only temporarily.

"Chances are you now know as much about natural progesterone metabolism as most physicians. Don't hesitate to show 'this' to your doctor, pointing out the extensive medical journal citations and clinical validations included extensively throughout and at the back of this book [Betty Kamen's book from which I'm excerpting].

"When you intervene with synthetic estrogen, you're adding a powerful hormone that has a direct effect on tissue all over your body. But progesterone is more of an intermediate building block. You're giving your endocrine system a tool to work with -- leaving the natural control and regulation mechanisms in place. That explains why it's so much safer to use natural progesterone than estrogen. In addition, studies show that natural progesterone helps to prevent or reverse osteoporosis whether or not supplemental estrogen is use

"Recall that one traditional problem with the use of natural progesterone is the fact that your liver protects you from dietary hormones with first-pass removal during digestion. In her book "Once A Month," Dr. Dalton lamented the lack of an easy way of getting progestogens into the bloodstream:

Dr. Kamen further states in her book, 'For many doctors progesterone is a forgotten hormone so far as treatment is concerned, and many doctors who use estrogen and know its possibilities and limitations are shy of using progesterone. One problem is that progesterone cannot be taken by mouth, as it is too quickly broken down in the liver, so it has to be given in other ways such as pessaries [tablets to be inserted into the vagina], suppositories [for use in the anus], injections, or implants. Recent work in India on monkeys has suggested that it is absorbed into the bloodstream when given by nasal administration. So, who knows, we may yet be using it in aerosols or nasal sprays.'

"There is a way to circumvent the difficulty! Wild yam extract and natural progesterone are formulated in a cream base that may also contain aloe vera, vitamin E, jojoba and/or avocado oils, burdock root extract, Siberian ginseng, chamomile, and/or even black cohosh extract -- plus cream protectors. Spreading the cream over a substantil area of skin is the method of application, so that the hormone can enter your blood transdermally [through the skin]. The cream leaves no trace after a few minutes. Oil-based liquids also appear to sidestep the problem.

"In "Cancer Causes And Control," researchers advise that women currently using unopposed estrogen, estrogen and synthetic progesterone, or synthetic progestogens alone, are all at increased risk for breast cancer compared with never-users, and that the addition of synthetic oral progesterone [more ccurately, progestogen] does NOT remove the increased risk observed with current use of unopposed estrogen. This is typical of an error in the use of the word 'progesterone,' an inaccuracy made by many physicians. It cannot be overemphasized that side effects stem from synthetic progestogens, not from 'natural' progesterone. Again, the word 'progesterone' refers to the specific molecule made by the ovary, and not to the numerous synthetic substitutes.

"As Dr. Lee explains:

'There are no known side effects from natural progesterone which, as should be obvious to all, is the preferred form to use if supplementation is to be given. Estrogen does increase the risk of breast cancer over time and this risk can be reduced by progesterone, but not by all progestins. The various progestins differ in this regard. Both estrogen and most progestins increase intracellular sodium and water, thus preventing hypertension and sparing the heart. Some progestins increase blood lipids, but natural progesterone does not. [Many physicians and researchers confuse the synthetic progestins with natural progesterone.'

"Is it any wonder that breast cancer has increased so rapidly in recent years? Its victims in the United States, alone, could fill a 747 every day. And, on every third day, the equivalent of a 747 full of women die from this avoidable disease.

"Should you self-treat with natural progesterone? Until recently, the short answer to this question was "No." The introduction of creams containing natural progesterone and/or substances that promote your body's own progesterone production, or help to initiate the conversion of substances to progesterone, now provides viable options.

"Is it safe to use natural progesterone cream without medical supervision? Although it's always best to have the guidance of a nutrition-oriented M.D., the clinical experiences of the physicians I interviewed suggest an affirmative answer. Applying an ounce of this cream every month to the soft skin areas of your body [breasts, neck, face, stomach, inside area of thighs, upper inner arms] is recognized as safe. If you use this quantity in two weeks, wait until the next month to start a new jar. Many patients apply the cream for the first ten days of every month. Others, concerned with infertility, apply the cream from Day 15 to Day 25 of their cycle [Dearest note: There's more later on for those of you no longer menstruating]. Dr. Lee suggests:

'Use a different part of your body each of the four nights, then repeat. Once fat cells are saturated with progesterone, they won't accept any more, so vary the areas to which you apply the progesterone, allowing time for the progesterone to be absorbed into your bloodstream. The photon bone density test is a sure way to track your progress.'

"Some women experience immediate relief; others find that it may take from one to three months to turn things around. Remember, this is a NATURAL product, NOT a drug. Just as we recommend that you start any new supplement in small amounts, it's a good idea to start using the cream in small quantities, at the start, too, especially if you are going to apply it to your face.

"If you have menopausal symptoms, but are still menstruating, don't apply the cream during your period, from Day 1 to Day 6 -- apply 1/4 teaspoon twice a day from Day 7 to Day 20 [during which time ovulation should occur, usually on Day 14]; then 1/2 teaspoon twice a day from Day 21 to the start of your period. If you are NO LONGER MENSTRUATING, don't apply the cream for the first week of the calendar month [Days 1 through 6], and then proceed as above.

"For vaginal dryness or discomfort, 1/2 - 1/2 teaspoon once a day applied intravaginally should help. Also, insert a vitamin E capsule intravinally. No need to break open the capsule; the pH of your body will do the job.]

[Dearest note: For vaginal dryness, try inserting a vitamin E intravaginally.]

"For hot flashes or night sweats, apply 1/4-1/2 teaspoon at 15 minute intervals for one hour or until the flashes disappear. A severe case? Apply even more, or use two drops of natural progesterone oil [in liquid form] held under the tongue one or two minutes at seven-to-ten-minute intervals until the flashes stop.

"Dr. Lee recommends its use even for women who live a prudent lifestyle and have never experienced menopausal symptoms. He reminds us that we are subject to stresses against which our bodies are not prepared. We are using 3-1/2 million year old genes in a late twentieth century world. We just cannot get enough natural progesterone or its precursors even if we eat the very best food available - regardless of heroic efforts.

"For mild osteoporosis, 1/4 teaspoon twice a day is recommended. Severe osteoporosos or broken bones in the past? 2 ounces or more a month, skipping the first 7 days.

"When asked how long a woman should use the cream, Dr. Lee responds, 'Until you are 96. Then we'll talk about it.'

I recommend reading Dr. Betty Kamen's book, "Hormone Replacement Therapy - Yes - No? It covers a plethora of menopausal symptoms and the various treatment methods available, but for information about natural progesterone, Dr. Kamen's book is very helpful.



The Power Surge Newsletter disclaims any representation for the accuracy or completeness of information contained herein. The sharing of information herein is not indicative of Power Surge's personal endorsement of same. It is purely for informational purposes. Health matters should be taken up with one's personal physician. Nothing in the Power Surge Newsletters, chats, message base, bulletin boards is intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. Opinions expressed are Dearest's and the authors who contribute to Power Surge and don't reflect the opinions of America Online.

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