Hormone replacement therapy is often the talk among women over 50. Some say it’s a life saver and others say to avoid it at all cost. But it doesn’t stop there; your doctor says that it is safe. She gives you another medical opinion, which you take to a naturopath who believes that bioidentical hormone, which are yam-derived, are the only safe hormones. She also writes you a prescription for a specific cream that unfortunately, the insurance coverage won’t take responsibility for the bill.
Did your mom warn you about “hormones” causing cancer and strokes? If that wasn’t enough, is your bestie in your other ear telling you about the hormone therapy that spared her marriage and saved her sanity? With all of that, how can you possibly know what is right? How when three people you trust have different opinions.
Let’s talk about menopause and perimenopause so you will know what is accurate from what’s less than ideal and even dangerous.
Why Use Bioidentical Hormones
The talk in the natural health industry and women over 45 is the phrase “bioidentical hormones.” It’s touted as being “safe and entirely natural” because it’s “derived from plants,” they are frequently celebrated as having zero side effects.
BHRT usage reportedly sits around 1.4 million, and 40% of prescriptions for menopausal hormone therapy are for BHRT.
Women will discover they are experiencing perimenopause when they notice symptoms or when they get surgery that will bring them into immediate menopause (induced menopause). Other individuals will initially investigate holistic treatment alternatives and nutritional supplements to address their problems.
You might notice some or all of the following signs during perimenopause:
- Hot flashes/night sweats
- Insomnia because you can’t sleep due to hot flashes
- Lack of energy and weight gain
- Frequent vaginal and urinary infections
- Mental haziness plus mood swings including depression
- Decreased libido and the ability to achieve orgasm
- Skin and vaginal dryness
- Bone and hair loss
- Elevation of cholesterol, decrease in good cholesterol (HDL), an increase in bad cholesterol (LDL)
- Deregulation of carbohydrate metabolism and thyroid hormone
During perimenopause, which typically begins about age 40, symptoms that resemble menopause may begin as early as age 40. Menopause, which typically occurs at age 51, is not uncommon during perimenopause.
Many symptoms associated with endometriosis can be relieved by hormonal therapy, but it comes with risk. It may have a significant impact if you have a serious medical condition when receiving HT or if you smoke, have a history of breast cancer in your family or blood clots.
Some hormone therapy providers believe that the liver is avoided because the method of administration does not include the mouth. Consequently, less blood clots are formed.
To most people, the risks are insignificant, while the benefits are numerous. Hormone replacement treatment is most commonly thought to have the following advantages:
- More active sex drive
- Improved sense of wellbeing
- Sounder mental clarity
- Lessened symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Reduced bloating
- Recovered ability to lose fat and build muscle
- More abundant hair growth
- More youthful-looking skin
Despite some people’s beliefs, hormone replacement therapy can benefit both men and women, especially in those who are nearing or going through menopause. Also, due to the fact that each gender suffers different hormone-related symptoms of aging, which may be physical, mental, or emotional in character, we say that men and women each face different aging issues.
Hormone replacement therapy adjusted to each patient’s unique needs often improves patients’ overall quality of life. Still, they should:
- Perform breast self-examination monthly
- Have a physical and breast examination by healthcare professional annually
- Have a mammogram each year
Many women go through menopause with worry and/or despair. Estrogen and antidepressants are required for some women to feel completely well.