“HRT Use: New Guidelines From the British Menopause Society” Downplay What’s Most Important

It’s fascinating to me how the multiple biases of medical or scientific studies are always skewed towards drugs (which include hormone drugs)  and/or surgery – even when there are natural solutions that are cheaper, have fewer – or no side-effects that have been used successfully by millions of women around the world for many years.

I have uterine fibroids that periodically cause excessive menstrual bleeding. I went to see my gynecologist because the most recent bout of extended bleeding brought on anemia and that alarmed me. Three years ago I had to have four iron transfusions to correct severe anemia. I wanted to hear about the conventional medical options she could offer me.

She surprised me when she said that she’d rather remove my uterus than remove the fibroids! On one hand, this isn’t as bad as it sounds – her heart was in the right place. She told me that she believes medicine has not served women going through menopause as well as it could so she wants to do what’s least invasive to solve my bleeding problems. This won’t work for me. I think removal of my uterus is unnecessarily invasive and keeping my uterus has been my #1 goal since my mother had a hysterectomy at age 50 because of excessive bleeding from uterine fibroids.

My gynecologist’s other options: the Mirena IUD which releases progestin into your uterus for five years (Progestin is an artificial version of your body’s natural progesterone.) This would cost $400 to $500.  The last option is oral Visan tablets with progestin, that I’d have to take daily to stop the bleeding. Neither are acceptable to me. I choose NOT to use artificial hormones.

Although popular, the Mirena IUD, manufactured by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, is not as innocent as it sounds. It can cause  serious side effects that may ruin whatever quality of life you may have. (Go here to read about how some women may experience dangerous, life-threatening side effects:  http://www.drugwatch.com/mirena/ and read testimonials from unsatisfied Mirena users: http://www.thestayathomefeminist.com/2012/04/21/the-case-of-the-tiny-little-iud-vs-natural-urban-mama/)

I decided to fully empower myself to heal my fibroids naturally. Technically, this is not possible – according to medical science. But, I’ve decided to ignore that belief because it does not serve me.  I’ve gotten serious about using Shepherd’s purse herb - every day.  I’ve been taking a blend of herbs in a healing infusion every morning and a herbal supplement formulated to balance female hormones. When my period starts, I take Shepherd’s Purse tincture to keep the flow manageable.

I’ve also increased my intake of brassica and green vegetables, and I’ve started drinking an amazing berry-flavored vegan shake that has lots of brassica sprouts and veggies already in it. This will help reduce menopause ‘symptoms and excess estrogen – which has been linked to uterine fibroids. I’m also making a special effort to manage my stress better.

When I read Medscape.com – a website that reports the latest medical research on health issues – there’s never any mention of the elephant in the room – that drugs  and surgery are the tools that doctors are trained to use and they don’t know how to use nutrition, supplements or herbs to support their patients. It’s outside the scope of their expertise.  The exception is if they care to research them, or take courses or additional training AFTER medical school. None are taught in medical school.

This results in a two-tier medical system – the Sickness Industry (conventional medical system) and the Wellness Industry. One works on you after you get sick; the other works with you to prevent sickness and is very often effective at improving or healing someone with a chronic diagnosis.

There are 10 new key recommendations for the use of hormone replacement therapy for menopause challenges, in a May 24, 2013 story on Medscape.com “HRT Use: New Guidelines From the British Menopause Society”. Recommendations #8 and #10 mentioned natural methods to control menopause challenges:

  • “Routine management of all women in the menopause transition and beyond should include optimization of diet and lifestyle.”
  • “Phytoestrogens offer some benefits for symptom relief and on the skeletal and cardiovascular systems.”

Why not recommend that doctors use these with their patients first? Even if someone chooses HRT, their entire bodies will be helped by these recommendations.

In case you’re interested, here are the other key recommendations from the British Menopause Society guidelines:

  • After receiving sufficient information from her health professional to make a fully informed choice, each woman should decide whether to use HRT.
  • The clinician should individualize the HRT dosage, regimen, and duration and reassess risks and benefits annually.
  • One of the main indications for HRT in postmenopausal women is relief of vasomotor symptoms, which are most effectively relieved by estrogen.
  • If menopausal symptoms persist, the benefits of HRT usually outweigh the risks. Therefore, the duration of HRT usage should not be subject to arbitrary limits.
  • When prescribed to women younger than 60 years, HRT has a favorable benefit/risk profile.
  • Women with premature ovarian insufficiency must be encouraged to use HRT, at least until the average age of the menopause.
  • If women older than 60 years opt for HRT, they should start with lower doses, preferably via the transdermal route.
  • Pharmacological alternatives to HRT may include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as fluoxetine and paroxetine for vasomotor symptoms, venlafaxine, gabapentin, and possibly clonidine.

NOTE: ANY drug you take will negatively  impact your liver because it has to process the drug to get it out of your system. Your liver is the organ that regulates your experience of menopause. It’s a good idea to take care of it, don’t you think?

Got an opinion? Please comment and share!

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