Review: The Estrogen Alternative, A Guide to Natural Hormonal Balance

THE ESTROGEN ALTERNATIVE: A Guide to Natural Hormonal Balance, by Raquel Martin and Judi Gerstung, D.C., foreword by John Hart, M.D., 2005 Completely Updated Edition, Healing Arts Press

This is definitely a women’s book, but may be of great interest to men who work in the health field or live with a woman! Far too many women feel that in one way or another they are held hostage to hormonal issues. It may be due to dysfunctional menses, or fertility issues. It may be the dreaded ‘Menopause.’ Either way, this book sets the record straight.

Conventional medicine sometimes muddies the waters and often makes a natural situation more complicated than necessary or worse. Not deliberately, one must assume, but through the use of outdated or inadequate diagnostic tools, the individual needs of a patient are sullied by “average woman” statistics.

This book is an often-reprinted and very popular work on natural hormonal strategies to deal with these issues. It has been thoroughly updated in this edition to reflect new therapies, and the ‘great HRT scare of 2002’.  All three Forewords and the Preface to this Fourth Edition are worth reading to gain the basic background to the controversies, and inform yourself of the latest advances in natural hormonal therapy. You will also gain insight into the latest pharmaceutical politics and acrobatics.

The book is divided into three parts with sub-sections. Part one examines the search that women often have to undertake when they are “Sick and tired of being tired and sick’.  This first hand account will resonate with most women. Traversing the gauntlet of maturation as a woman can be frustrating with many obstacles and red herrings scattered along the path. Within this part, the second sub-section deals with the myth of estrogen deficiency versus the reality of progesterone deficiency. This is one myth that has not been fully debunked among the medical fraternity, but inroads are being made.

Part two surveys the female life cycle with its seasons and passages. This is a most valuable part of the book for any woman of any age. Interspersed with the information are research findings and the history of popular treatments, both natural and conventional pharmaceutical. All of the natural alternatives are considered along with reasons and justifications for ‘going natural’.

Part three looks at how women can assertively change their lifestyles to create hormonal balance naturally. This may be from diet, supplementation, or replacement. All the methods of replacement are surveyed; from creams, tablet, topical patches and a variety of implants, to name the most common. Guidelines for application of hormonal therapy methods are given with sound exhortations to find a trusted therapist for testing and advice.

Seven appendices support the rest of the book, with a deeper level of information on Hormonal application; Synthetic Compounds with chemical and brand names; Natural formulas for infants; Resources for Cancer Patients; Resources for preventative medicine; Clinical Studies and Research Reports; and Sources of natural progesterone.

This is a terrific source book for women of any age. There is no padding here and it is packed with information. The controversies surrounding hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) are addressed fully, but solutions for almost any situation are offered in a practical and professional way.

My memory is dimming for these issues, but I think I may give a copy to my daughter for herself and her daughter’s daughter…

Recommended for anyone interested in women’s health and wellbeing.

Jennifer Hoskins

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