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The Estrogen Elixir

A History of Hormone Replacement Therapy in America

Elizabeth Siegel Watkins

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In the first complete history of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), Elizabeth Siegel Watkins illuminates the complex and changing relationship between the medical treatment of menopause and cultural conceptions of aging.

Describing the development, spread, and shifting role of HRT in America from the early twentieth century to the present, Watkins explores how the interplay between science and society shaped the dissemination and reception of HRT and how the medicalization—and subsequent efforts toward the demedicalization—of menopause and aging affected the role of estrogen as a medical…

In the first complete history of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), Elizabeth Siegel Watkins illuminates the complex and changing relationship between the medical treatment of menopause and cultural conceptions of aging.

Describing the development, spread, and shifting role of HRT in America from the early twentieth century to the present, Watkins explores how the interplay between science and society shaped the dissemination and reception of HRT and how the medicalization—and subsequent efforts toward the demedicalization—of menopause and aging affected the role of estrogen as a medical therapy. Telling the story from multiple perspectives—physicians, pharmaceutical manufacturers, government regulators, feminist health activists, and the media, as well as women as patients and consumers—she reveals the striking parallels between estrogen’s history as a medical therapy and broad shifts in the role of medicine in an aging society.

Today, information about HRT is almost always accompanied by a laundry list of health risks. While physicians and pharmaceutical companies have striven to develop the safest possible treatment for the symptoms of menopause and aging, many specialists question whether HRT should be prescribed at all. Drawing from a wide range of scholarly research, archival records, and interviews, The Estrogen Elixir provides valuable historical context for one of the most pressing debates in contemporary medicine.

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The Estrogen Elixir

Elizabeth Siegel Watkins

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Reviews

Reviews

This is an excellent book, and one I would heartily recommend to anyone with an interest in the history of the health sciences or the history of the women's movement.

Much has been written about post-menopausal estrogen therapy... This wonderful book tells the story.

A good read.

The Estrogen Elixir sets a high standard for future histories of pharmaceuticals and of aging.

This book takes an in-depth, socially analytical look at the evolution of menopausal hormone therapy in the United States, with a focus on estrogen since its discovery... Watkins tells the story accurately and objectively. No accusations and no praise, just the facts.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
368
ISBN
9780801894862
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Beginnings
2. From the ''Neutral Gender'' to ''Feminine Forever''
3. Selling Estrogen to Doctors
4. Selling Estrogen to Women
5. From Hero to Villain: Estrogen and

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Beginnings
2. From the ''Neutral Gender'' to ''Feminine Forever''
3. Selling Estrogen to Doctors
4. Selling Estrogen to Women
5. From Hero to Villain: Estrogen and Endometrial Cancer
6. Enter the Feminists: Informing Women about Estrogen
7. Enter the FDA: A Patient Package Insert for Estrogen
8. Resurrecting Estrogen, I: Osteoporosis and Medical Science
9. Resurrecting Estrogen, II: Osteoporosis and American Culture
10. Skeptics and Believers: Varieties of Women's Responses
11. Weighing the Benefits and Risks of HRT: Estrogen, Heart Disease, and Breast Cancer
12. 1992: The Year of the Menopause
13. Meno-Boomers: Another Generation Confronts Estrogen
14. The ''Gold Standard'': Estrogen and the Randomized Controlled Trials
Notes
Index

Author Bio
Elizabeth Siegel Watkins
Featured Contributor

Elizabeth Siegel Watkins, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Siegel Watkins is a professor in the History of Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of On the Pill: A Social History of Oral Contraceptives, 1950–1970, also published by Johns Hopkins.
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