Hot Flashes, Hormones, and Hype
Hot flashes are one of the largest driving factors when women consider the use of hormone replacement. Hormone replacement before 2002 was easy. Just take the drug, Premarin and the hot flashes go away like magic!
BUT, the HERS study in 2002 proved that conventional estrogen and progesterone combined treatments were increasing women’s risk for stroke, heart attacks, and breast cancer. The correlation was so strong that they halted the study halfway through in order to stop putting any more women at risk. Since 2002, treatment of menopausal symptoms has become significantly more complicated. Many women just stopped taking their hormones when they learned of the study and suffered the onslaught of symptoms that backlashed after discontinuing. Now many women try to suffer through menopausal symptoms, picking up supplement after supplement from the health food store. For me, treatment of menopausal complaints fits into two camps: those who need or want to use hormones as a form of treatment and those who cannot or will not use hormones as a form of treatment.
It is possible to decrease or eliminate menopausal symptoms using either option. Naturopathic treatment is extremely effective at reducing menopausal symptoms. Hormone testing can allow us to evaluate your hormone balance and proceed with the appropriate treatment. If needed, hormones can be prescribed to alleviate symptoms. Bio-identical hormones are hormones that are plant based and made in a laboratory to be identical to the hormones a woman’s body produces. Bio-identical hormones are different from conventional hormone replacement therapy, which is made from horse urine. Furthermore, bio-identical hormones are safe to use, the body can recognize them and break them down easily, and they are extremely effective at eliminating menopausal complaints. Additionally, bio-identical hormone replacement is anti-aging and can ward off osteoporosis. Studies of bio-identical hormone use show the hormones, if used in the right combination, can have anti-cancer effects instead of cancer-causing effects.
Bio-identical hormones can be administered through various routes. I prefer using hormones that are sublingual, or under the tongue. The absorption can be better regulated in this manner. I don’t suggest using topical hormones for achieving systemic effects, as they can be very difficult to regulate and very easily transfer to others in the household such as your husband or child. However, localized vaginal application of bio-identical estrogen is significantly effective at reducing problems associated with vaginal atrophy, the drying out of the vaginal wall sometimes causing irritation, redness, pain, loss of elasticity, and susceptibility to infection. If you have more questions, ask your physician about bio-identical hormones or find a naturopathic physician in your area.