We know it as that nasty hormone that gives us facial hair, hot flashes and bloated bellies, but when its in check, it’s our Grande Dame in disguise!
See, natural estrogen, like the kind our bodies make, naturally build bone, protect our heart and stop Alzheimers in its tracks. All 3 hugely increase after menopause. 🙁
Problem is, our estrogen naturally drops after age 35 or so. So many women start supplementing with synthetic estrogen to ease the flashes, achiness, memory issues, loss fo sex drive, poor mood etc. But that estrogen is usually from (Premarin, from horse urine) coupled with provera (synthetic progesterone). Then the *&$% hit the fan in 2002 when the World Health Organization published medical research that there was a huge increase in breast cancer, heart disease and stroke with HRT.
Why? Because they used the synthetic form (which is what most family doctors dish out) – what we lovingly call HRT.
But there’s another kind of HRT – bio-identical, and it’s made all the news the last few years. Many women have been using it for years in Europe and North America with profound, health-building benefits!
That’s right – health building….women are returning to having strong bones, good moods, lowered heart disease, cancer and dimentia. But this is the bio-identical version, compounded ones, made from plant materials that match your individual chemistry. The natural form also keeps you lean! Bonus!
Please note: I am not a doctor, so I am not dispensing medical advice, only from my own research and my own experience. Know that there are very few registered endocrinologists (hormone specialists) around…and contrary to popular belief, your homeopath is not one of them, although he can give you these compounds, but he cannot monitor through blood work…which is part of the whole deal. And compounding pharmacies can dispence bio-identicals, sure, but they can’t measure, track and assess you like a hormone-specialist can. But many women choose this route becaue it costs less – a hormone specialist is not covered by medical, so you usually have to pay the lab visits – about 2-3 a year, yourself. Although now more benefit plans are covering the cost of the compounded hormones….gosh, maybe we ARE making headway after all!
Other natural alternatives to lessen the nasty side effects of loss of estrogen (hot flashes, moodiness, dryness): eat fermented soy protein (eases hot flashes…use it as your protein shake), cut the sugar and sugary carbs, up your lean proteins and eat it every few hours, cut back on the breads, pastas, crackers and such, and eat your healthy fats (Omega 3’s and 6’s), in particualr Primrose oil and borage oil! And indole 3-carbinol supplements help remove excess estrogen (or just eat extra cruciferous veggies like kale, cauliflower and brussels), and they protect against estrogen-induced breast cancer. And of course exercise always levels hormones ( I never experienced any PMS symptoms at all until I was 40 when I quit exercising all together…I soon understood what PMS was all about!).
Often, hot flashes and such are not due always due to too much or too little estrogen, but the now-imbalance of estrogen to progesterone (progesterone drops, and this mis-balance can cause estrogen dominance and all its side effects.) Next week we look at progesterone….your feel good hormone!