Book review: The Estrogen Errors

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 52, No. 5, June 2010, Page 266 News

By Jerilynn C. Prior, MD, and Susan Baxter, PhD. Praeger Publishers, 2009. ISBN: 0-313-35398-0. Hardcover, 255 pages. $56.00.

I read this book essentially as a layperson might; my comfort with the details of reproductive endocrinology somewhere in the distant past. 

I also kept in mind that there is controversy about estrogen and progesterone’s role in perimenopausal health, and that some practising physicians might reflexively disagree with Dr Prior’s belief that progesterone has more importance when it comes to easing the transition to menopause. 

The book is well written, clearly laid out, and understandable to an educated reader. It points out what we now know are inconsistencies and outright errors in the previously widely accepted prescription of estrogen to normal women during their transition to menopause. 

The most recent negative evidence of estrogen’s ability to im­prove the health of normal perimeno­pausal women is clearly reported, and throughout the text and appendices of this book evidence is presented that supports a trial of progesterone during the transition to menopause. 

I worry that the authors may, a bit too often, imply a conspiracy by medical and pharmacological leaders against ac­knowledging the truth of women’s natural hormonal changes, in the quashing of questions against estrogen, and the lack of interest in progesterone. 

As true as the message may prove to be, the style sets a tone that may lead some physician readers who are more comfortable with cooler medical publications to dismiss it as overly zealous. I think the book offers a significant amount of information for both physicians “treating” and women approaching menopause, from both an estrogen and progesterone perspective. I’m really glad I read it. 

I appreciated the clarification of terminology, the effort to demedicalize a natural process, and the confidence to look outside the box at commonly accepted doctrine surrounding what has been happening to women since the beginning of human life.

Cynthia Verchere, MD. Book review: The Estrogen Errors. BCMJ, Vol. 52, No. 5, June, 2010, Page(s) 266 - News.

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