If you’re struggling with menopausal symptoms, you may be grasping for anything that will help you get your mojo back. And chances are, you’ll at least consider taking hormones if your menopausal symptoms are severe enough.
I outlined my natural recommendations for treatment of menopausal symptoms here. But what about hormones? What’s the real skinny?
Back when I was training, we were putting everybody and her great-grandmother on hormones. 90-year-old ladies who had just had a heart attack? Here, take Premarin! 80-year-olds with osteoporosis? How ‘bout some estrogen, hon?! 55-year-olds who had sailed through menopause with ease? Why not take Prempro to protect yourself?
Now we know better. Not only are hormones not cardiac protective the way we once thought — they can actually increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
So why would a woman take hormones?
Because they can make a menopausal woman feel great. Hormones can relieve and improve:
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Vaginal dryness
- Brain fog
- Bladder control problems
- Pain or burning during intercourse
- Skin changes associated with menopause
- Helps protect against colon cancer
These are good things, right? So why doesn’t everyone take hormones the way they did back when I was in medical school? Because of the landmark Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study that was terminated prematurely in 2002 when early statistical calculations demonstrated higher death rates in the cohort of women who were taking hormones. Yikes, Batman!
Ever since then, patients and doctors alike have been confused. The data is fuzzy and the truth is hard to sort out, but I’ll try to lay it out for you, ladies.