The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on Women:
Barbara Seaman is a science journalist and cofounder of the National Women's Health Network. She takes on the drug industry in this book, condemning the common use of hormone replacement therapy, especially estrogen. She has studied women's health both during fertile years and post menopausal. Physicians prescribe hormone replacement therapy for many women's health purposes, from birth control to menopausal ailments. Seaman believes that hormone replacement therapy is over prescribed and dangerous.
The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on Women examines how the drugs have been used since their beginnings back in the 1940's and 1950's. She talks about the different cancers that the drug has been known to cause and others that the medical field won't admit but she believes has caused. Seaman gives a good history of female medicine going back hundreds of years to different herbal remedies that have been used for menopause.
Seaman doesn't call for estrogen and other hormone replacement drugs to be banned, although it's close in this book. Instead she advocates using them sparingly and at the lowest doses possible. Over the past 50 years the dosages keep lowering as problems start appearing. Yet this is the type of drug that has very long term effects not only on women's bodies, but the sexuality of both sexes. She scathingly reduces the medical field to a "men's only" club that pat the little woman on the head, tell her that they know best, and send the female patient out with a medication that could cause death.
Hormones are not prescribed drugs that I take, but I have two daughters in their 20's, one married. There is also a history of female endocrinological problems in our family that affects one of them. Birth control drugs are important. I know women who went from menopausal monsters to delightful women once again when they started hormone replacement therapy. I am not going to run out and chastise these women for their medical choices. But I want to do further research. If there are non-hormonal, safe alternatives for my daughters, I want to be able to suggest them.
This is a readable, informational, often inflammatory book. Barbara Seaman has a cause and wants women to know about it. Any woman considering hormone replacement therapy would do well to read this book and discuss her options with her physicians.
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Overtreateated by Shannon Brownlee
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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