Book Review – The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried, MD
Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy
Dr. Gottfried has a revolution in mind—one that may lead to better health for many women. In The Hormone Cure, she not only means to sort out the complexities of hormone balance and make it understandable, she offers solutions and numerous resources to help you attain it.
She covers so much ground that it is difficult to come up with something that Dr. Gottfried misses in this book. She begins by helping you sort out potential hormone imbalances with vivid questions such as:
- “Increased abdominal circumference, greater than 35 inches (the dreaded abdominal fat, or muffin top—not bloating)?”
- “Vaginal dryness, irritation, or loss of feeling (as if there were layers of blankets between you and the now-elusive toe curling orgasm)?”
She then walks you through the various hormone dysfunctions or irregularities, and describes the “Gottfried Protocol” specific to each.
Dr. Gottfried goes on to explain that each hormone issue is not independent of other hormone issues and (unlike how she was taught in medical school) combined hormone therapies addressing all of the hormone issues should be used together for the best result, rather than addressing one issue at a time. She further describes the common patterns or trends of hormone issues that she sees in her practice.
In addition, Dr. Gottfried explains how you should present symptoms and talk with practitioners to get the help you want, including treatments and/or prescriptions. She includes a glossary of the terms she uses, in case you are not familiar with the medical terminology, and also provides additional resources for getting tested (even at home) and for finding a practitioner who can help you.
Dr. Gottfried wants to help you create healthy habits, and to use journaling or technology to keep you on task. She offers diet suggestions, many of which tend toward an almost Paleolithic eating style. She discusses insulin and glucose levels at length, and covers many of the issues and health problems associated with insulin resistance. She also covers the problems associated with mercury toxicity in food and dental amalgams, and explains how hormone levels are affected. Questions surrounding environmental estrogen mimics (i.e., xenoestrogens) and eating soy are also covered.
Recognizing that non-medical approaches can also help achieve hormone balance, Dr. Gottfried recommends the HeartMath system for training yourself to reduce abnormally high cortisol levels due to stress, or using the alternate nose breathing from yoga traditions for the same result. (Dr. Gottfried embraces the practice of yoga and is a teacher herself.) She also suggests other tools that may help you along the journey, including Dr. Martin Seligman’s website authentichappiness.com, which contains questionnaires for assessing your own strengths and happiness.
Dr. Gottfried doesn’t intend to drop you once you have finished her book. She wants to continue to be your coach, and she has gathered up the power of social media: websites, webinars, blogs, emails, referrals, and references so you can continue your journey with her.
Her writing style is engaging and fun, which may lead some to think that Dr. Gottfried’s book is just a lot of fluff (her being a yoga teacher and all!). But, she is a scientist and medically trained at Harvard University, with over 20 years of medical practice and having treated more than 10,000 women. For inquiring minds, she has included a lengthy reference section that should convince even the most skeptical of her credibility.
Some practitioners have not been willing to address the complex problems of hormone dysregulation because they were not taught how to do so in medical school. Learning about balancing multiple hormones may seem daunting to them. However, this book is written in such an organized, simple, and yet scientific fashion, that Dr. Gottfried may well be knocking down some of the barriers preventing women from receiving the help they need to optimize their health. We say, bring on the revolution!