Hormone Repair Manual: Every Woman's Guide to Healthy Hormones After 40
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I am going to guess that this will probably be one of the most formative books I ever read in my life. I don’t know that it’s necessarily the best book out there on the topic, but because it’s the first one for me (you better believe I have like 8 more on hold at the library) it’s the one that is going to shift my thinking the most. Hormone Repair Manual is published by Pan Macmillan. It’s a practical guide to feeling better in your 40s, 50s, and beyond. It explains how to navigate the change of perimenopause and relieve symptoms with natural treatments such as diet, nutritional supplements, and bioidentical (body-identical) hormone therapy. There are too many false and uncited claims mixed in with some good information. Here are some troublesome statements I came across:
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This book states too much insulin causes weight gain. This has been disproven (PMID: 27385608). You may also consider the fact that GLP-1 receptor agonist medications increase insulin secretion and are associated with weight loss (PMID: 22236411). The book states to aim for about 150 to 200 grams of carbs per day. You can’t give that recommendation when you don’t know anything about the reader besides maybe their sex. One of the core concepts of this book is that menstruation is a legitimate VITAL SIGN. It provides clues about your general health and whether your body and hormones are functioning properly. Yet, doctors generally opt to shut off this vital sign (with The Pill) when it starts telling us that something is wrong instead of trying to find out the cause and correct it. HOLY SHIT Y’ALL!!!! HOW IS THIS A THING!!!!???? Please let this sink in for a minute. We are essentially lobotomizing our reproductive systems, usually temporarily but sometimes permanently, because the medical establishment is unwilling to do any research into this topic because hormones are “too complicated.” How is this “do no harm”? Women commit suicide over severe PMS and it is well-known that hormonal birth control is linked to depression. I can’t say I’ve met anyone who has truly been happy with their experience on hormonal birth control – it is treated as a necessary evil, but apparently it doesn’t have to be that way.Why should we have to shut down a woman's entire hormonal system just to accomplish the simple job of preventing pregnancy? Fertility is an expression of health, not a disease to be treated with a drug." As for the information on how to enhance natural cycles, I feel like some changes could be made in terms of the book’s organization. As other reviewers have noted, the book encourages the reader to read the whole book, but then also is repetitive in repeating information and will redirect the reader to other chapters. Much of the information in this book is general how to be healthy information. I would have preferred an overview that gives this advice once at the beginning instead of repeating it for each section. Of course diet/exercise/reducing stress will be beneficial to all period problems. Your period is not just your period. It is an expression of your underlying health. When you are healthy, your menstrual cycle will arrive smoothly, regularly, and without symptoms. When you are unhealthy in some way, your cycle will tell the story.
Period Repair Manual: Natural Treatment for Better Hormones Period Repair Manual: Natural Treatment for Better Hormones
What does natural treatment entail? Sleep, Diet, Exercise, and Supplements. A side note about sleep...The way Briden talks about periods while on the pill (what she calls "pill bleeds") not being real periods, reminded me of the way Matthew Walker talks about sleeping pill induced sedation not being real sleep in his book Why We Sleep, which I highly recommend. Period Repair Manual and Why We Sleep were both eye-opening for me. I was happy when Briden mentions the importance of sleep in this book: I wish I had read this a decade ago. I would have saved myself from years and years of sub-optimal health. Unfortunately, this book wasn't even published 10 years ago, and instead I listened to my gynecologist who suggested I continue taking the pill to "regulate my hormones and period." Now, after reading this book, I know that the pill was just masking underlying health issues, that a period on the pill isn't a real period, that the pill was suppressing ovulation and preventing my body from producing extremely beneficial hormones.I do highly appreciate the information and overview of the different types of available birth control options. They were informative and piqued my interest to do some more researching. Alright so now that my soap box is out of the way, let’s talk about this book. I’ll just jump right to the bad: there’s a lot of hormonal birth control fear-mongering in here. Concerns that simply are not supported by the literature or the vast majority of gynecologists. The main argument is that BC suppresses ovulation, and is therefore bad because it covers up potentially serious conditions. Other issues: she strongly discourages a vegan diet but gives no supporting evidence except that “vegan diets may be low in certain vitamins and minerals” 🙄 🙄 this can also be said for the typical western diet. For vegans, she recommends they take a number of supplements, like taurine, but doesn’t say why, what they do, how they will help, what a low level might do, what food sources might have them, and why a vegan might be “low” in the first place. Most of these things cannot be tested for—that is, you can’t know if you’re low or not.