WOMEN AND THE CRISIS IN SEX HORMONES by
Kirkus Star

WOMEN AND THE CRISIS IN SEX HORMONES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The essential arguments in this massive excoriation of the Pill and ERT (estrogen replacement therapy) are that pregnancy prevention should not depend on wholesale suppression of natural hormone function and that menopause is not a deficiency disease requiring supplemental estrogens. Barbara Seaman, science writer and ardent defender of women's medical rights, and Gideon Seaman, psychopharmacologist at Long Island's Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, are bitter in their denunciation of doctors, the FDA, drug companies, and popular authors who continue to extol synthetic sex hormones or are dilatory in informing women of risks. The Seamans trace the dreadful ""DES"" story. Diethylstilbestrol, the first synthetic sex hormone to be developed, has now been linked to vaginal cancers in daughters of women who took the drug, often routinely, to make ""normal"" pregnancy ""more normal."" The Seamans point out that DES is still used to fatten cattle. They cite the ever-growing list of side effects of contraceptive pills--thromboembolism, hypertension, birth defects (if pregnancy occurs with the Pill or soon after stopping the medication), heart attacks, chemical diabetes, depression, cancer. . . . Along with their descriptions of how synthetic hormones work and why they can wreak havoc, they discuss other methods of contraception, including male pills, vasectomy, and the IUD (also condemned). They come out strongly in favor of the diaphragm, the cervical cap (more common in Europe), foam, and the condom. What they say about pill suppression of the normal cycle makes sense, and their documentation of problems is impressive. At times their vituperation is heavy-handed, and one balks at lines like ""Pathologists have a loftier view of medicine than other doctors. . . ."" One is dismayed, too, by their unabashed enthusiasm for ginseng, multiple vitamins, ""lunaception"" (the attempt to initiate ovulation by leaving a light on all night for two or three days in mid-cycle), and other exotica. Bearing that in mind, the Seamans can still be commended for their first-rate presentation of the physiological facts and their compelling case against routine use of sex hormones.

Pub Date: June 13th, 1977
Publisher: Rawson/dist. by Atheneum