Over the last decade, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause symptoms has been hotly debated. After the 2001 Women’s Health Initiative, many women were taken off of hormone therapy by their doctors due to concerns that HRT leads to increased risk of breast cancer, stroke, heart disease, and more.
But this clarity didn’t last. Since 2001, pharmaceutical companies have funded dozens of studies attacking the WHI research and reasserting the safety of HRT for younger women. And those selling bioidentical HRT (bHRT) have argued that whatever risks are associated with synthetic HRT don’t apply to bHRT. We don’t blame you for not knowing who or what to believe!
We’ve followed the HRT story for decades and come back again and again to the conclusion that while taking hormones may be right for you, for almost all women they should be considered only after trying more natural methods which carry fewer risks. That may seem like a simple statement, but we encourage all women to learn more about our guidelines. They’re meant to help you feel your best while protecting your health.
What you need to know before you make a decision about HRT
Though the risks associated with hormone therapy are not as grave as we may have thought in 2001, there are still issues you should be aware of. We know that supplemental estrogen alone can cause uterine cancer, blood clots, and breast cancer. And studies show that if estrogen is taken with synthetic progesterone the risk for breast cancer, blood clots, and cognitive decline (in women over 65) increases.
On the flipside, using estrogen transdermally (as a patch across the skin) does not appear to increase the risk of blood clots; and according to a large study in France, using natural (bioidentical) progesterone actually lessened the breast cancer risk if women stayed on it for less than six years.
Though you should always weigh the pros and cons of any therapy with your doctor, here’s our general advice on hormone replacement for menopause (for women who have not had a hysterectomy):
- Investigate natural remedies for perimenopause and menopause symptoms first. They work well for the vast majority of women. You’ll find our approach below.
- It seems best to initiate HRT while you are close to menopause and still experiencing symptoms. The health risks are greater the later you start and the longer you stay on HRT.
- Don’t start HRT past age 60 and don’t take it for more than five to seven years altogether.
- Do not take HRT if you have a personal or family history of breast, ovarian, endometrial or liver cancer.
- Use bioidentical hormone therapy instead of synthetic forms and look for transdermal, transvaginal, sublingual (or melt) forms of hormone therapy as opposed to pill form. If your doctor isn’t familiar with bHRT, it may be time to find another doctor.
In the end, HRT is a powerful drug, and all drugs come with risks and side effects. A therapy that was once named the “fountain of youth” but then rejected by many doctors and medical associations should always give us pause. The HRT story is still in the making and for most women it just isn’t worth the risk. But for a minority of women HRT is essential to being able to function. This is why the decision to take it must always be a personal one.
Your hormone-free alternative
We’ve spent many years refining an effective natural approach to menopause symptoms that does not involve the use of hormones. We’ve looked closely at how what you eat and how you live can affect hormonal balance. And we’ve developed a breakthrough natural herbal product that targets and relieves disruptive menopause symptoms.
The result of our research is our Herbal Equilibrium, our multibotanical formulated to relieve the 10 most common symptoms of menopause. We’ve combined the best herbs for estrogen, progesterone and testosterone deficiency in one exclusive formula that women love.
Our Hormonal Health Package offers you all the tools you need to get through menopause and the changes leading up to it with ease and good health. With phone support from experienced wellness coaches, a food and lifestyle guide, and our ever-popular Herbal Equilibrium, you’ll have all of your bases covered through this unpredictable time — without the worry of side-effects or other health risks.
You are part of an important trend
Though HRT is still an effective treatment option for women with severe symptoms, the use of HRT has gone down significantly since the Women’s Health Initiative results came out. This tells us that more and more women are looking for natural alternatives. And we are happy to lead the way with an approach that addresses disruptive menopause symptoms, and is also health-supporting on every level.
Maybe your doctor has suggested HRT and you’re considering it, or maybe you’re vehemently against HRT, or possibly somewhere in the middle. No matter where you are, why not begin with a natural approach that will relieve symptoms and promote life-long health?