Question of the Month

Q:  I notice near my periods I get headaches, and have had seizures. I have heard this is due to estrogen dominance. I've heard also that estrogen unopposed by progesterone can cause problems like these. Is this true? I am having a hysterectomy and am afraid of being just on estrogen.

A: Standard practice is to use progesterone as part of hormone therapy only if you have a uterus. There is no known benefit to progesterone other than protecting the uterus from unopposed estrogen.

The widely publicized WHI study showed that the main risk factor for breast cancer is not estrogen but the synthetic progesterone. Given this, progesterone should be avoided unless it is needed. Also the synthetic Provera(R) (medroxyprogesterone actetate or MPA) can set off PMS-like mood problems in some women.

Unfortunately there is now a lot of misinformation in books and on the web about balancing estrogen and progesterone so one must be careful not to believe everything one reads.

Hope this is helpful.

Geoffrey Redmond, MD

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