Hormone Replacement Therapy - Is it Right for Me?
So, this is a HOT topic! There are so many opinions on this and so many questions I hear when I talk to women on my discovery calls! Wow... I could write a book, but I'll stick to a blog article for now.
Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT for short generates many responses from "Best thing ever" to "Avoid at all costs due to increased risk of..." - So, let's talk about it.
First of all, I want to say that traditional HRT involves the use of synthetic estrogens and progesterones. I am not a fan of those synthetic hormones. Most are derived from horse urine and are very potent and powerful. Most of the studies you see linking HRT to increased risk of estrogen sensitive cancers involves these types of hormones. These are the hormones from decades past. The only ones available to most of mothers and grandmothers. In addition, most of these come in pill form which means they must be metabolized out through the liver and that can increase the use of their risk (1)
A more functional approach to hormone use involves Bioidentical hormones, or those that are similar to what your body produces. These are plant-based. These have been shown to have the benefits without as many unwanted side effects especially when estrogen use is properly balanced with progesterone use (2) So, it makes sense to me that if you are considering the use of hormones, you would want to consider Bioidenticals over synthetics.
Does that mean every woman should run right out and get some hormones? Absolutely not. There are so many considerations that go into that decision:
What is going on in the first place... Why are your hormones "Out of balance"? This is crucial. If you just add hormones to a body that has blood sugar dysregulation, adrenal fatigue and bunch of other foundational health issues, you will never really help the issues. You want to address ROOT CAUSE and then consider if hormones are even necessary or if the symptoms are made better by just working on the root cause
Is a non-hormonal option available that will help? If you still have an intact uterus and ovaries, often your body can be stimulated to make more or less progesterone or estrogen with some herbs that have less risk than exogenous hormone use. I do this very often with great success with my patients. This is especially truly in perimenopause. Those who have had hysterectomies (with or without the removal of the ovaries) may need some hormonal options since they aren't able to make these hormones as effectively, or at all if the ovaries have been removed.
Consider the history of each person carefully. There are some reasons you would not want to use hormones of any type. Things like previous history of breast cancer or even a strong familial tendency. This is why a good evaluation is very important. I ask a lot of questions to make sure I recommend safe options for my patients!
Commitment to the process. To responsibly use any kind of hormone, you want a commitment on both the part of the doctor and the patient to regularly follow-up and perform the appropriate testing so hormones levels are staying at safe and effective levels. The type and frequency of testing can vary based on your unique needs.
I can not stress enough the importance of addressing root cause, foundational issues that effect hormones. Liver clearance, blood sugar stabilization, adrenal issues, etc. Most of the time, focus on that will do the job. In some cases, it will not and prudent use of bioidentical hormones is a game-changer for women!
If you have a question about this, I would be happy to have a conversation to help you figure out what approach might be best for you. I call that short, free call a discovery call. You can click the link below to schedule.
To your health!