Book Review

Natural Hormone Balance for Women: Look Younger, Feel Stronger, and Live Life with Exuberance

Uzzi Reiss, MD
Pocket Books

A clear, concise, practical approach for obtaining maximum benefit from bioidentical hormone replacement therapy

The author of this useful text, who has been a practicing gynecologist for more than 20 years, provides a practical guide for the use of natural hormones in women. He presents a step-by-step program designed to help women become more aware of the symptoms of hormone imbalance. He emphasizes the importance of customizing dosage forms for each patient, and he provides guidelines that patients can use to recognize and adjust their own therapy to accommodate changing needs.

In the first part of his book, bioidentical hormones are defined and differentiated from synthetic agents (chemical hormone substitutes). The effects of stress and insulin control on hormonal balance are addressed. Readers are encouraged to collaborate with their physicians in designing a BHRT protocol, and compounding pharmacies and pharmacists are mentioned by name as sources of therapy.

In the second part of this book, estrogen is defined and the signs of estrogen deficiency, fluctuation, and excess are presented. The effects of estrogen dominance on thyroid hormone, testosterone, growth hormone, and other hormones are reviewed, as is the importance of sex hormone-binding globulin.

The author is superb in explaining the problems associated with conventional hormone replacement therapy. He discusses the need for estrogen, provides dosage guidelines for women of various ages and for those with a hormone imbalance, and alleviates the unsubstantiated fears and myths that cause poor compliance with conventional hormone replacement therapy. Different dosage forms are reviewed, and the benefits of treating a deficiency in hormones that affect the quality of life (eg, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), pregnenolone, melatonin, and human growth hormone) are listed. A comprehensive chapter on breast cancer is included, and the author explains the importance of diet, nutrition, and the use of supplements in reducing the risk of cancer.

Although the author lists compounding pharmacies as the most reliable source for the bioidentical hormones described in his book, he also lists the uses of hormones that do not require a prescription and directs readers to the Internet for sources of purchase. He does stress the great differences that can occur in the listed and actual potency of substances in over-the-counter hormone products and the possibility that some supplements contain more ingredients than those listed on the product label. This book includes an extensive index, which is very useful.

Reviewed By:  James Paoletti, RPh
In:  Sep/Oct 2001