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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Many women are using what are described as 'bioidentical' hormone replacement drugs. These are usually estrogen, progesterone, or combination products. There can appear to be compelling reasons to use these products-relief of hot flashes and night sweats, decreased vaginal dryness, anecdotal improvement of various maladies, and decreased side effects.

I've never been that comfortable with the use of these drugs. No hormonal product can ever be the same as what the body produces on its own. So to me, 'bioidentical' is misleading. There have been no large-scale studies to demonstrate the safety of using these products over time. We know the health risks of taking external sources of estrogen and progesterone-clotting disorders, strokes, and increased risk of certain reproductive cancers. Even if there is decreased risk with the use of these drugs versus common hormone replacement drugs (a fact that has not been proven), is that risk worth the perceived benefits? At the minimum women taking these products should be made aware of these issues so that they can make an informed choice.

This morning an email crossed my desk about a previously spayed dog that had extremely high estrogen levels. Turns out the dog's owner was a woman using bioidentical estrogen cream twice a day. The source of this dog's build up was its owner petting it. Supposedly the pharmacist has been seeing hyperestrogen syndromes in people using these drugs-like gynecomastia (breast enlargement in men).

I think I am less enamored of these products than most because I have access to something that works better-homeopathy. Without any risk of side effects the correct homeopathic remedy can address the health issues that these drugs are meant to treat. Why use a hormone product with questionable safety when there is a safe alternative?

If you are using these products, or know someone who is, be aware of possible spread. If they are using their hands to apply these drugs they could be giving their children, partners, and pets an unintended dose.


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