Should I Go On Hormone Replacement Therapy?

While menopause may be a natural transition in a woman’s life, that doesn’t mean it is always a comfortable one.

For many women menopause represents freedom from periods and a new-found strength, but for others this phase is replete with an array of unwanted symptoms, some of which include: depression, anxiety, hot flashes, weight gain and memory lapses.

And, of course, Big Pharma offers a “solution” in the form of drug-based hormone replacement therapy (HRT). But should you medicate this transitional time or choose natural options that support your body’s own hormonal balance?

What Exactly is Hormone Replacement Therapy?

HRT is an estrogen replacement drug that also goes by the name Premarin, which is short for pregnant mare’s urine. That’s because it is made from estrogen from horse’s urine. Just from an animal right’s perspective you may not want to go on hormone replacement therapy. According to PETA about 750,000 horses are confined to small stalls where they are unable to move, impregnated and then have sacks attached to their groin to collect the urine.

What are the Side-Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy?

The most commonly known side-effects are the increased risk for heart disease, stroke, blood clots and breast cancer, which not only lasts during the treatment but also afterward.

What are the Benefits of HRT?

Most women find that HRT reduces symptoms like hot flashes and may slow bone mass loss. It may also help reduce anxiety and depression; however, most women find the same benefits from bioidentical hormones.

What are the Alternatives to HRT?

Bioidentical hormones are made from botanical plants such as soy and yams and are pharmaceutically-processed to produce natural estrogen and progesterone, usually in the form of a cream that is absorbed by the skin. While bioidentical hormones are popular, they aren’t the only option for menopause. Other natural options include:

-a largely or completely plant-based diet—plant-based diets tend to be high in phytoestrogens that are needed during menopause

-quitting smoking and reducing sugar intake

-regular exercise

-meditation and stress-relief techniques

-Hormone-balancing herbs. Some of the most popular herbs used during menopause, include: black cohosh, chaste tree berry and wild yam. Red clover and sage are among my favorite herbs for strengthening a woman’s body.

Red Clover is particularly suited when a woman is experiencing hot flashes and has low estrogen levels. That’s because red clover contains natural estrogenic substances known as isoflavones that can help boost the body’s own hormone levels, but in a much gentler and more natural way than hormones derived from animal or synthetic sources. Make the tea by using one heaping teaspoon of dried herb to a cup of boiled water and allow to steep for 15 to 20 minutes. A typical dose is two to three cups of red clover tea daily.

Sage also has estrogen-like propertis, making it an excellent herb during the menopausal years. In my experience, using a drop or two of sage essential oil diluted in a carrier oil and inhaling or using for massage is great; however, using the herbal extract in tea or tincture form is also helpful. Follow the same instructions as under “red clover” to make sage tea. Follow package directions for the tincture you select.

Menopause is not a disease, and as such should not be treated as one, contrary to what pharmaceutical companies might have you believe. Bioidentical hormones, a plant-based diet, and herbal medicines are frequently able to address any difficult symptoms. Ultimately, however, it is a personal choice that only you can make.

Related:

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, and Cooking (New World Library, 2016).

146 comments

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill8 months ago

thanks

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Karen K.
Karen K8 months ago

Black cohash has been found to increase breast cancer in mice. Although we aren't mice, we are mammals, so if you have breast cancer risk, avoid taking it. Remember, just because something is natural doesn't mean it doesn't have side effects or efficacy either. So like all things, check it out and don't assume things are fine just because they are "natural."

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Heidi W.
Heidi W10 months ago

It all depends on how YOU feel. Get informed by your GP or OBGYN and make an informed decision. If you have side effects of menopauze, it can be of help. If you don't have side effects don't take the hormones.

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Maria Papastamatiou
Maria Papastamatiou10 months ago

With me menopause started suddenly, after caring for four (4) relatives with serious illness. I did not have the time to worry about it; my only thought was: thank God I am well and do not have to worry about my period. I only had some hot flushes, but with humour and a joke I could overcome them. I only hope that other women will look at it same as I without having to deal with external difficulties.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus10 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Philip Watling
Philip Watling10 months ago

I had a massive head injury in 1994 and the link between my pituitary gland and my testes has been broken so I can no longer produce Testosterone... I too am on Hormone Replacement Therapy (TRT for men). Given that I am replacing a hormone that should naturally be there anyway there are minimal side effects. For more information please read my inspiring book, Flight of a Lifetime, found on ow.ly/DKc3l.

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MARGARITA Bowers
MARGARITA BOWERS10 months ago

M.B.
Back in the 1980's a friend of ours started to take hormone therapy. She believed that it was something that she needed, or in her words, "without it, you can get messed-up". At that same time, I was reading the side-effects, and it mentioned cancer. I told myself that I would never do it. Besides, my mother and many other senior ladies in our family got along well without it back in the day.
As for that friend, she died of stage 4 cancer, just 3 weeks ago. Just saying.

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Jim Ven
Jim V10 months ago

thanks for the article.

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Fi T.
Past Member 10 months ago

Consult one's doctor

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