Many pharmacies and menopause centres claim to be using ‘natural’ or ‘bioidentical’ hormone replacement therapy. But is it any better, safer or even a good option to begin?
The first claim that these hormones are natural is not correct. They are made from natural herbal substances but this does not make them natural. Women are mislead by the claim thinking that they are like taking a herbal remedy. This is not true. They are still synthesized in a laboratory and do not resemble the original herb in anyway. They do not miraculously turn into hormones. They have now become hormones that have been synthesized. So hence they are not natural.
The second claim that they are bioidentical can be disputed as well due to the fact that the body has not made these hormones. Hormones are complex structures and often when a substance is synthesised then it may look identical but have inverse properties and not have the same action in the body as it will recognise it as different.
Many women are sold this form of HRT thinking that it’s a natural option for their body, and that its personally prescribed for their needs. The issue with this is hormones constantly change. Its impossible to have a personalised prescription unless the saliva is tested daily and the correct dose is administered hourly. So what may have been the right presciption at the time of testing. As soon as you administer the hormones, the body adjusts its own production downwards and the dose is incorrect. Hormones and the endocrine system is extremely dynamic and changes hourly.
Providing the body with any hormone from an external source causes the body to stop producing this hormone itself. So the actual deficiency is only compounded in the body and eventually if you look to come off these hormones, your body is in a worse state than it began. It’s hardly a reaction of a natural substance. Natural substances cause the body to regulate itself. Herbal medicines are adaptogenic which means they signal the body to make the adjustments itself. Its a very different way of treating the problem. Natural or bioidentical hormones force the body to react a certain way. This is the effect of a drug.
So are bio-identical hormones any better than normal HRT?
Not really. There is no evidence stating that these forms of hormone therapy are safer or more effective in managing symptoms than normal HRT. In fact, expensive Bio-identical hormones have become big business with medical centres specialising in this form of treatment. They are advertising for miraculous benefits when the realities are not so realistic and the long term side effects rarely being discussed with patients.
The real issue lies in the fact that you cannot balance a hormonal imbalance with hormones. It’s impossible….. because of the fact that your own hormone production and balance is compromised when you ingest or absorb an external hormone. This leaves your underlying endocrine imbalance further compromised leading to issues of weight gain, thyroid deficiency, adrenal deficiency, fatigue, irritability, moodiness, sleep disorders and the long list goes on.
What are the silent side effects of taking bioidentical hormones or HRT?
The dangers of taking HRT are well established however the side effects run deeper than the reported issues with breast cancer and blood clots. The little know side effects relate to the impact on the endocrine system.
Because hormones are powerful mediators, when external hormones are introduced into the delicate balance of the endocrine system, endocrine glands such as the adrenals and thyroid are impacted. This is where subtle other symptoms develop such as weight gain, fatigue, headaches and migraines, thyroid deficiency, adrenal fatigue, foggy memory, mood swings, irritability and even depression. Very rarely are these side effects discussed let alone linked to the hormonal therapy.
So is there a better way?
The only real holistic way to deal with perimenopause and menopause is to encourage the body to find its own balance and produce the right amount of hormones at the right time of your cycle (menopausal women still have a hormonal cycle). Hormones fluctuate by the hour and no amount of testing will show this. Even saliva testing(check this article) only picks up fluctuations every second day. Your hormones shift through the day and even change when you sleep. Blanket hormone prescriptions, even so called personalised ones just don’t take into consideration this basic anatomical fact.
The way to deal with this natural process of perimenopause and menopause is the balance the hormone control centre in your brain. And this can only be done with 3 known herbal medicines. Cimicifuga racemosa, salvia officinalis and vitex agnus castus. These 3 herbs in combination work on the hypothalamus/pituitary (HPA) axis which is our bodies control centre for hormones. This is where all our sex hormones are regulated and by using these herbs in the right combination they address the imbalances. Not by providing hormones for the body but encouraging this centre to balance itself.
There is no risk of elevated oestrogen or progesterone. The body naturally balances the level of these hormones in the right ratios for your time of life. It sounds very simplistic and it is. And it works.
Happy Hormones contains these 3 herbal medicines along with a range of other herbal medicines which work on other endocrine glands to encourage the whole system to balance. Not just your sex hormones. Then the real magic starts to happen. Moods balance, energy lifts, sleep improves and the hormones balance naturally.
Our western diet and lifestyle along with overuse of synthetic hormones over many years has lead to an epidemic of perimenopause and menopausal symptoms with women suffering as a result. HRT maybe a quick fix but it comes with consequences. The option of so called natural or bioidentical options is just misleading and not dealing with the underlying issues at hand. It is possible to effectively treat these conditions with real natural options that work with the body, rather than forcing the body. In the end its a much safer and sustainable option that works without the side effects.
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