Sunday, October 18, 2015

Book Review: The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried, MD

I rarely review a book before I finish reading it, but this one is compelling enough and probably would be of interest to my blog readers, so I'm jumping the gun a bit. I'm about 2/3 through the Audible version of The Hormone Cure by Dr. Sara Gottfried, and it's helping a lot of the issues that I have been having and working through with my alternative practitioner fall into place.

I have Margo to thank for getting me interested in this book. It sort of struck me that, duh, at 44 I am definitely in the middle of perimenopause, even though I take the birth control pill so I haven't noticed a lot of the classic symptoms. I have been wondering if I should continue taking it or if my hormonal issues would be better if I stopped, and this book has a great "Balance Sheet" on the birth control pill that helped me think through that issue.

Even though I'm listening to it on Audible, I can't totally recommend that format because of the narrator. She probably would be a great narrator for a mystery novel or some other dramatic book, but she puts dramatic emphasis on words in strange places, and I find myself having to re-listen to spots to figure out what was really important in each section. Sometimes it feels like I am being yelled at, and in a book that talks so much about the importance of reducing stress in our lives, the choice of shouting narrator seems especially off-kilter. I also saw reviews that the tables don't work well in Kindle, so it may be best to go old-school on this book. I found a used copy on Amazon that was $10 including shipping so I can go back and get information that is hard to capture from the audio version.

This book has a quiz (which is included as a PDF with the Audible version) to help readers figure out which hormones might be out of whack: cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and/or thyroid. I found I had cortisol and (not surprisingly) thyroid issues. There are "Gottfried Protocol" suggestions for each imbalance. I like that she recommends starting with lifestyle interventions, like cutting back on coffee or adding in relaxation, before suggesting a lot of more aggressive interventions like hormone replacement. This seems safe and sensible. It seems dangerous for women to rush to add progesterone cream or other potentially-dangerous remedies without a doctor's advice like some other experts recommend.

The thing I don't love about this author is that somewhere between writing her first book and moving on to her second, she seems to have gone into hard-sell mode. If you follow the link for the quiz, you have to give your email address, so that she can send you advertisements for her supplements and virtual workshops. I'm glad I'm reading the edition of the book that is free from this seeming conflict of interest -- in fact, she criticizes other authors in this version for having such conflicts. I suppose it's a fact of life that someone who has had such a success would be tempted to cash in, especially when women were probably contacting her and asking for supplement advice.

There's enough good in this book for me to recommend it anyway, especially if you are struggling with weight, sleep, or mood issues that might be hormone-related.


  1. I think it'a hilarious that the reader sounds like a drama reader, I just imagined the 50 shades of grey reader doing "diet"!

    1. There is nothing sexy about this woman's voice. It's more like getting lectured by an older teacher.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07