Is surgical menopause preventative medicine?
In a recent published letter, Angelina Jolie discusses her decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed because she carries the rare BRCA1 gene mutation. This gene mutation put her in a high risk category for both breast cancer (she has had a mastectomy for the same reason) and ovarian cancer. We have tackled the topic of surgical menopause before and now Dr. Mike wants to respond to Angelina.
What did Angelina Jolie do that every woman should know about?
Angelina’s decision to have her ovaries surgically removed was not as unusual or controversial as what she did next – and that is something every woman should know about (our clients already do!): Ms. Jolie has already planned to begin bioidentical estrogen and progesterone therapy after her surgery to, in her words, “help me maintain a hormonal balance, but more importantly, it will help prevent uterine cancer.”
Angelina Jolie apparently elected to keep her uterus (a questionable decision given her dramatic removal of her ovaries and a mastectomy). Because she has her uterus, she is still at risk for uterine cancer. Ms. Jolie did wisely choose progesterone to protect her against uterine cancer – again something our female clients have known for years.
Did Angelina Jolie choose Progesterone or Progestin? What is the difference?
The real question is did Angelina choose the bioidentical progesterone or did she really choose progestin? In Ms. Jolie’s words, “A progesterone IUD was inserted into my uterus.” *Dr. Feste, an experienced OBGYN, believes this was more likely the synthetic progesterone IUD Merina, which can increase the risk of stroke and breast cancer (WHI Study). It also can contribute to weight gain. For her sake, she hopefully chose bioidentical progesterone as she chose bioidentical estrogen.
Progestin has many negative side effects for women (it is in birth control pills and IUDs for birth control) and only protects against uterine cancer. Progesterone protects against breast cancer (not her concern because of the mastectomy). It also helps protect against colon cancer, rectal cancer, cognitive decline (Alzheimer’s disease and dementia), osteoporosis, weight gain, poor sleep, and depression.
Incredibly, an astounding number of physicians practicing mainstream medicine do not know the difference between progestin and progesterone (the latter produced naturally by the body). *This explains why so many women endure hysterectomies, migraines, loss of libido, miscarriages, infertility, cysts, moodiness, poor sleep, painful periods with heavy bleeding and many more symptoms associated with low progesterone. See our blog on progesterone to learn more.
Your doctor says “You do not need progesterone.” Wrong?
In our medical clinics thousands of women just like Angelina Jolie see us after having a hysterectomy. *Their top complaints are weight gain, moodiness, low energy, low sex drive, poor sleep, etc. They are not taking progesterone because their doctor said, without a uterus you are no longer at risk for uterine cancer. And they tell them, all of your weight gain and other problems are due to overeating, little exercise, depression. They then say to “exercise more, eat less, take this anti-depressant or anti-anxiety drug.”
What can you do?
We encourage Angelina Jolie and any woman suffering from the same symptoms to learn more about progesterone. It protects the body from many forms of cancer but also reverses the unwanted symptoms from surgical menopause. We also note that she does not mention testosterone and thyroid, which are both typically low in surgical and natural menopausal women. Get yourself tested and learn what you can do.
As Angelina says and we agree, “Knowledge is power.”
Reference: A full review on bioidentical hormone therapy is available at this website: http://www.jabfm.org/content/24/2/202.full.
Dr. Mike Clark, Ph. D. is the Director of Education & Research for Natural Bio Health. He has a Doctorate Degree in Natural Health and has been designated a Diplomate of Anti-Aging Medicine and a Fellow and Advanced Fellow of Anti-Aging, Regeneration & Functional Medicine.
Mike has been awarded a Certificate in Brain Fitness and Weight Management from the Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. He is certified by World Link Medical in Advanced Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy and has completed the expert level education in the Mastering the Protocols of Hormone Replacement Therapy.
He is a fourteen year member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.