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The Estrogen Errors: Why Progesterone Is Better for Women's Health [Hardcover]

Susan Baxter Ph.D. , Jerilynn C. Prior M.D.
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 19 2009 0313353980 978-0313353987 1

In this revealing work, a medical writer and an internationally known physician team up to explain the controversy over prescribing estrogen for perimenopausal women in the United States and to detail why progesterone is actually a far more effective, and far less risk-ridden, approach. Citing longstanding and emerging research, patient vignettes, and personal experience, endocrinologist Jerilynn Prior and writer Susan Baxter explain how false beliefs about estrogen became entrenched in U.S. medicine and culture—and how and why business and politics have played a role in this erroneous thinking.

Like most women in Europe now, Prior's patients find progesterone the key to dealing with a lifecycle transition that, contrary to Western medicine, these authors do not see as a disease. Challenging medical orthodoxy, The Estrogen Errors: Why Progesterone Is Better for Women's Health presents arguments and evidence that women and their doctors, male and female, will find compelling and useful.

Product Details

Product Description


• Challenges a common, and potentially dangerous, U.S. medical practice, suggesting a proven and less-dangerous alternative

• Cites the latest research on this controversial issue

• Draws on patient vignettes and the personal experience of an eminent physician and researcher

• Reveals the influence of political and commercial factors on medical practice

"The Women's Health Initiative study in the 1990s upended the conventional wisdom concerning hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women. Medical writer Baxter (Simon Fraser U.) and Prior (medicine, U. of British Columbia) trace the history of the estrogen-deficiency disease paradigm of menopause. Instead of the myth that estrogen is a female hormone that needs replenishing, these self-identified feminists advocate consideration of the complexities of what is ‘normal' and the use of progesterone among options to ease menopausal symptoms. Appendices include further information about perimenopause, 'the forgotten transition,' and menopause management."


SciTech Book News

"In this engaging book, Baxter (Simon Fraser Univ.) and Prior (Univ. of British Columbia) combine detailed

explanations of women's reproductive endocrinology and physiology with deconstructions of social, medical, and

cultural narratives about women's hormones. The result is an insightful survey of current and historical dogma,

scientific research, and medical practices in women's health. . . . Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."



"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….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."


British Columbia Medical Journal

"The Estrogen ErrorS≪/i> is an informative text written for providers and women that questions the hypothesis that estrogen is the deficient hormone during the perimenopause, and that this deficiency is responsible for the varied symptoms experienced by many woman during this transitional phase. Dr. Prior is an endocrinologist who clearly has studied and researched the topic thoroughly. "



"Estrogen ErrorS≪/i> is, quite simply, the truth! Dr. Jerilynn Prior has done women a huge service by uncovering the real truth about estrogen and the hidden secrets of progesterone! A must read for anyone concerned about women's health."


Jerilynn C Prior MD FRCPC
Professor of Endocrinology
University of British Columbia


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Estrogen Errors July 7 2009
Trying to figure out why you have night sweats when you're too young for menopause? Wondering why your doctors talks about estrogen deficiency and hormone replacement therapy when you remember the media coverage of the Women's Health Initiative stopping their trial? This is the book that explains it all - from perimenopause to the prevalence of estrogen in thinking about women's health.

Baxter and Prior have done extensive research on women's hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone. In clear language they explain how they fluctuate throughout a women's cycle and life and how they interact with each other. It's not low estrogen that causes those night sweats - and all the other symptoms that can occur during perimenopause - it's actually high estrogen and the resulting imbalance between the two hormones. The authors also examine cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and breast cancer - `aging' diseases often associated with menopause - and their connection to hormones. They explode the myths around estrogen keeping you young, reducing cardiovascular risk and preventing bone loss. They also discuss hormones and breast cancer and the role of mammograms.

Aside from explaining the medical side, what I found of particular interest was the explanation for why menopause is seen as a medical problem and how estrogen came to be the solution. The authors provide an historical, socio-cultural and political context for the medicalization of menopause.

One of the authors' stated goals in writing this book was to provide women with tools to help question their doctors and the advice they are given. Understanding more about how your hormones work and the reasoning and history behind that medical advice can only benefit all women.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars you must read this book Jan. 17 2012
By Ramneek
Without Dr. Prior's work I would probably have been on a list for a hysterectomy by now, but as it is, I am managing a frightfully difficult perimenopause without such dire intervention. The book is not just about perimenopause, though. You'll also learn about the medicalization of osteoporosis, medical contribution to the perpetuation of the feminine stereotype, and the reality of how research funding is skewed. Check out the information she disseminates from The Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research website for a preview of some of what the book contains. Her research into how progesterone, or lack of it, affects us is beginning to filter down, and for that we should all (including those near and dear to the women affected) be grateful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...Just the facts M'am Sept. 22 2009
A phenomenal must read for all women.

Dense, factual research is rendered into an enjoyable, readable format taking us through the medicalization of women's issues, the estrogen conspiracy and finally, the evidence based solution.

The history of women's health and hormones is littered with contradictions and unfounded social/cultural bias. Myths or 'explanations' have been created and contorted to order the facts, and suppress rationales that have a sound basis in science.

The authors simplify the evidence, allowing us to understand the roles of estrogen and progesterone. High doses of estrogen are harmful. It causes heart disease, blood clots, stroke and breast cancer. It has not been shown to prevent anything that it has been touted as 'good for'. Progesterone, a co-star, plays an important role in women's balance and whole health, yet has been largely ignored. Progesterone balances out wildly spiking estrogen, serving as a physiological anchor; while providing positive impact on bone density, ....

Case studies are profiled where women are led through invasive procedures that exacerbate the problem yielding nightmarish results. Prior's frequent simple advice: a 2 week trial of progesterone, has freed women of oppressive symptoms, resulting in the cessation of surgeries and prescription refills. I know all about this. Due to Jerilynn Prior's diligence, holistic, thoughtful, and compassionate care. I survived a horrendous perimenopause, and fortunately avoided a hysterectomy and prescriptions that made me feel weaker and more vulnerable.

The book is complete by empowering reader with an appendix devoted to Understanding/ Surviving and Thriving in Perimenopause.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars well done! Aug. 5 2009
Dr. Prior is a brilliant doctor and brave pioneer in medical research and education. This book is well worth reading for any woman interested in understanding her own health better.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars book review Feb. 25 2010
By Heather Ewart - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An alternative title to this book could be 'Don't Go to the Doctor's Office without Me'. You get the strong impression that, outside of baby-production, the physiology and health requirements of the human female are simply not taught to physicians. The co-author Jerilynn C. Prior, is a physician-researcher, professor of endocrinology and top authority on mid-life female transition from fertile to sterile. She tells of her up-battle to teach University of British Columbia medical students the mounting evidence that progesterone is equally as important as estrogen to bone health. The administration has asked her to drop replicated progesterone research from her week of teaching bone disease. She states they will have to fire her first.

Time after time Prior over-rides the disinterest and obstructing ignorance of her peer medical community. She choses the difficult, but higher, road of practicing evidence-based medicine, causing her to question the sketchy research on estrogen. This book is shot through with more science, intelligence and rational sense, in terms of women's health, than anything else available currently. This is true of all her publications and website [...]

'The Estrogen Errors' is expensive [...], however a portion goes to running the non-profit cemcor website. The book gives you the most current bio-medical science on women's bone, breast and heart health from Dr. Prior's researched and elite point of view. A major focus of the book is that span of life starting in the late 30s or early 40s which has only recently been identified and labeled as perimenopause. A significant cohort of women, but not all women, have from mild to extreme difficulty through what can be a decade (plus or minus) of transition. If this is you, get this book and go straight to Chapter 3 'Perimenopause: The Forgotten Transition" for the very best science-driven information and management available to the lay public.

The amount of morbidity (suffering and misery) and premature mortality (death) that women might be spared if 'The Estrogen Errors' had wide readership and understanding is scary to think about.
April Heather Ewart Andrews RN BN, [...]
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Important May 27 2012
By girl squirrel - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Jerilynn Prior is a very bright researcher who is redefining the perimenopausal years. It takes a lot of courage to say what she has - not because her views are outrageous but because physicians can be brutal and vindictive when someone speaks outside the accepted dogma. The science writer Susan Baxter has re-addressed the medicalization of menopause and the conceptualization of being in "deficiency."

There are factual errors.

- women in the PEPI trial took Premarin alone or Premarin & Provera, but the writers did not mention that there was a group who took micronized progesterone and they did well. It's still a surprise that researchers were prescient enough in the early '90's to INCLUDE micronized progesterone at all.

- "those colonoscopies that Katie Couric wants us to have can nick the bowel and cause internal bleeding." True, however, it is cavalier and irresponsible to suggest a sigmoidoscopy, which is "flexible, shorter and safer" is an adequate tool to detect colonoscopy. In fact, no reputable physician in the US uses sigmoidoscopy any more as a screening tool for colonoscopy. Sigmoidoscopy examines only the very end of the colon and misses the polyps (cancerous or pre-cancerous) in the majority of the colon. Katie Couric helped public health efforts to prevent colon cancer - colonoscopy is one of the only ways to PREVENT cancer by removing precancerous polyps (as opposed to mammograms, which DETECT, not prevent, cancer).

- finally, the WHI. In 2002, the researchers concluded that hormone therapy caused an increase in breast cancer and heart disease. Then Baxter writes "after a brief flurry of negative news about estrogen, the excuses and the justifications began pouring in..." Well, it was the authors of the WHI who published further analyses that showed that women in their 40's and 50's who took Premarin, or Premarin & Provera had no increased risk of breast cancer and heart disease, but that the risk is increased in women who take hormones in their 60's. This is important because as Jerilynn Prior has written, hormone levels in your 40's are different from your 50's and from your 60's. Secondly, it wasn't hormone apologists who published the data on safety, it was the WHI authors themselves.

There is lots of good information in the book, and Jerilynn Prior deserves a platform for her views. However, it is important that when the writers are criticizing the medical industry (and deservedly so) that they keep their facts straight so as not to undermine their argument. Nothing is all good or all bad - including hormones.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars inkbat comments Dec 25 2010
By Inkbat - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Terrific overview of women's health issues, not only hormones but also heart disease, osteoporosis and breast cancer and the role hormones (and bad information) play.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must Read for all interested in the perimenopause Oct. 28 2009
By Judith Norsigian - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
It is fascinating to see how widespread beliefs about estrogen's role in the perimenopause have blocked the pursuit of much-needed research in this field. This book is filled with persuasive arguments that lead to a total re-evaluation of these "beliefs" that increasingly don't hold muster as we look more closely at the best available evidence. Dr. Prior's writings and her own research offer crucial insights for all those interested in women's health across the lifespan.
-Judy Norsigian, Executive Director of Our Bodies Ourselves
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