How can one dispel a myth? How can one convince a skeptic of the truth?
Change is difficult especially if there is a powerful financial interest to continue with the status quo, to keep the long-held knee-jerk myth alive. Re-educating the educated elite (medical societies) can be professionally dangerous. It has been said that it is often necessary for the present generation to die off for new concepts to be recognized and accepted. To confront the medical establishment (Big Pharma) may have major negative consequences when the legal arm of the government (the FDA) has strong political and financial ties to institutions that have self-serving interest to keep the myth alive.Major pharmaceutical companies have built an empire on the concept of equating a symptom with taking a pill. Ask your doctor if Lipitor is right for you. If you have body aches take this pill. If you feel depressed try this capsule. If you have trouble sleeping the answer may be found in this medication.
As a physician my passion has always been to do all possible to care for those who place their trust in me. I have to respect the past but not cling to old ideas without at least asking if the old needs to be replaced with something new that may be better. I have to search for concepts that may seem out of main stream medicine but could be an improvement. I have to be ready to challenge my long-held beliefs and to not resist too strongly new concepts.
In this vein, 10 years ago I was introduced to the world of Pellet Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy. Like most physicians who were familiar with the results of the Women’s Health Initiative Trial which ended in 2002 showing that hormones caused breast cancer, heart attacks, strokes and blood clots, I was reluctant to prescribe any kind of hormones. I resisted believing that any kind of hormone was as I was told that the side effects of mainstream medicine was as bad as bioidentical hormones. But, when I read well-done scientific double-blinded crossover placebo controlled studies all substantiating the benefits and lack of significant side effects of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, I was intrigued.
After more than 30 years of treating patients, I have come to the conclusion that it is important to look for the reason one feels depressed or has trouble sleeping or is tired or has body aches instead of writing a prescription to treat the symptoms. The self-serving medical establishment has more to gain by treating the symptoms than to treat the condition that is causing the symptoms. It is faster and more financially feasible to write a prescription for an antidepressant or a sleep-inducing narcotic or a habit forming sedative for anxiety than to think outside the box searching for why this patient is having these symptoms now. What is different today in this patient’s life than it was a year ago that would now cause these symptoms? Could it be hormonal imbalance?
Doctors are now beginning to become interested in the field of wellness and disease prevention. The family care doctor should become the one most concerned about bioidentical hormone replacement as this is often the first contact between the patient and the health care system. The family physician should become familiar in conversing with the patient about hormone treatments as they relate to wellness and disease prevention. There 360,000 articles found on the web site Medscape relating to hormones. The important role of hormones and how this relates to maintenance of health should be common knowledge, but unfortunately physicians are reluctant to venture outside the realm Big Pharma. When hormones decline our health declines.
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