Mary J. Shomon
New York, NY: Collins; 2006
This well-written, detailed book includes an extensive resource and bibliography section with Web site references to traditional and nontraditional health care. The text is divided into three parts, the first dealing with normal thyroid and thyroid disease. The second part addresses thyroid- related issues and describes the interaction of thyroid hormone with other hormones in the female reproductive system that may impact menstrual function, fertility, sexuality, perimenopause, and menopause. The third section is dedicated to finding the solution that fits a woman’s individual case once diagnosis of a hormonal problem is made.
The author, who is a strong patient advocate, has written several other books on thyroid disease, as well as other chronic conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Although I feel she favors the holistic and nontraditional medical alternatives, she does address the traditional approach as well in dealing with her main premise that “in this country we have an epidemic of undiagnosed and misdiagnosed thyroid disease,” which, in her view, can be the root cause of other hormonal problems besides thyroid disease.
The author stresses that the symptoms commonly attributed to perimenopause and menopause may in fact be caused or aggravated by undetected thyroid dysfunction and therefore screening in those populations is important. In general, there is adequate coverage of issues important to the menopause transition (perimenopause) and postmenopause but there are statements that I feel could be scientifically misleading. In addition, the comments concerning medical and surgical procedures that can be used for treating various bleeding problems during perimenopause and menopause are brief and incomplete. The reader would be advised to get additional information from their personal physician or other sources that deal specifically with gynecologic disorders.
Even so, I feel this book meets an important need in regards to understanding thyroid disease and how thyroid function affects the other bodily systems. The book is reader friendly, makes good use of graphs and tables, and intersperses interesting testimonials throughout. I would recommend this book for those who want detailed information regarding thyroid function and dysfunction.
David A. Hutchins, MD
Department of OB/GYN
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Little Rock, AR
Credentialed Menopause Practitioner
Member, NAMS Consumer Education Committee
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