Serious side-effects may result when using hormone replacement – hrt – for menopause symptoms such as hot flashes

Unless you’re suffering greatly and have tried natural remedies to no avail, do your best to avoid taking supplemental hormones of any kind, because some of the side effects can have far-reaching consequences. If you do decide to take extra hormones – bioidentical or otherwise – do it with the intention of using the lowest dose for the shortest amount of time.

  1. Hormone supplementation is not the ideal strategy for handling menopause challenges that its fans would like you to believe. It may not even be a temporary measure to ‘prime the pump’ that some doctors recommend to inspire your body to produce the hormones that may be ‘missing’. The most commonly replaced hormones are steroid (e.g. estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, cortisol, DHEA, etc.) and thyroid hormones. When you take a hormone, your body stops (or significantly slows) its own production of these hormones, sometimes permanently. This makes it more likely that you’ll have to continue to take supplemental hormones for the rest of your life.
  2. The positive effects of bio-identical hormones last about six months before you’ll need an increased dose to achieve the same initial effect. This is especially true for progesterone cream.
  3. Your body’s hormones are meant to work in synergy. When you ‘mess’ with one or two, you affect all of them, upsetting your body’s balance.
  4. Researchers have linked menopausal hormone replacement thereapy to an increased risk of breast cancer. During the 1990s, the incidence of breast cancer climbed by about 15 percent, at the same time as a growing number of women received hormone replacement therapy. In 2001 the trend reversed: Breast cancer rates initially dipped gradually, but dropped sharply in mid-2002. That was the year when many American women stopped hormone replacement therapy after the Women’s Health Initiative, a large clinical trial involving estrogen-progestin therapy, was stopped prematurely, after it was determined that the risks — including the increased likelihood of developing breast cancer — outweighed the benefits.
  5. Hormone therapy can also increase a woman’s risk of heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots.
  6. There’s no evidence that so-called ‘bio-identitical hormones’ are any safer than the horse pee pills of the 90s and early 21st century. They’re hormones from outside your body – so they’re not really ‘natural’ now, are they?
  7. Making lifestyle changes that may include improving your diet, cleansing to remove toxins, regular exercise and removing or coping better with stress, among other recommendations, is certainly a better place to start addressing menopause challenges, and it may be required anyway if you eventually overwhelm your body with added hormones, depleting necessary vitamins and minerals that are required for proper cell functioning.
  8. Herbs, homeopathy, meditation, aromatherapy, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT or Tapping), iodine supplementation, acupressure, avoiding wheat and gluten products, supplements including CoEnzyme Q10, Vitamin D, high level anti-aging antioxidants, B-vitamins, magnesium, stopping smoking, and more all have proven useful in the alleviation of menopause symptoms. Which have you tried?
  9. Wild yam (or, more likely, soy bean) is used as a starting point to make progesterone pills and creams. However, many women do not realize that processing wild yam in the lab means it is no more herbal than estrogen pills and creams.

Some practitioners have a vested interest in getting you on hormone replacement therapy that calls into question their integrity and motive for ‘helping’ women.

I took an on-line menopause quiz run by an MD who runs a “Concierge Holistic Medical Practice” for men and women with hormone issues. I had 3 out of 10 of the symptoms explored in the quiz. My low score resulted in a white coated professional-looking woman telling me via video that bio-identical hormones could ease those symptoms and asked me to watch another video about using bio-identicals. Clearly the priority was for me to be using their hormones and paying them for the privilege. That set off alarm bells for me.

A lot of people are making a lot of money when women choose hormone replacement therapy. Who takes on the risk for that choice? We know it’s not the doctors or the pharmaceutical industry. Who is it?

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Leave A Reply (2 comments so far)

  1. pat bailey
    6 years ago

    unfortuately I do suffer from not only hot flashes, cold chills, panic attacks, not being able to focus, think well and feeling emotionally inadequate. I’m pretty sure if you suffered like this the quality of your life would send you into a tailspin and you would do what you needed to do to function. I hate this crap and would do anything to feel normal again, however when I try to stop it I feel so bad I can’t do anything. So be happy you can deal with yours but realize some off us are not able to.

    • Wendy Vineyard
      6 years ago

      Thank you for your post Pat. I sympathize with how rotten you’re feeling. No one deserves to feel that way. Symptoms such as yours did not hit you all of a sudden, so you won’t find an instant solution – natural or artificial. If you ‘need’ to take added hormones, do so with the smallest dose and take it for the least amount of time to give you some relief. Meanwhile, it just makes sense to begin addressing your lifestyle choices – e.g. food, herbs, daily water consumption, exercise, stress, relaxation, etc. What traumas in your past are still bothering you when you think of them? Your physical and emotional symptoms are your body’s way of ‘talking’ to you – It’s likely that your self-care needs attention. I sense that you’re under a lot of stress and are unhappy with one or more aspects of your life, other than menopause symptoms. Menopause is the time to face your long-standing problems, develop healthier habits and try something different. Consider asking for expert help outside the conventional medical realm. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re guaranteed to get the same results.

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