I was asked how I felt about hormone replacement therapy. I wanted to share the following thoughts with you:
We are born with an excess amount of hormones to ensure survival of our species through reproduction. However, hormones are very powerful and can have very stimulating, excitatory, and proliferative effects within the body. As such, they are treated by the body as toxic and we have evolved mechanisms to detoxify them (these mechanisms in turn rely heavily on support from a healthy diet and lifestyle). Perhaps, as these mechanisms wear (throughout the aging process), the body naturally turns down its production of hormones.
In other words, if aging ensures the survival of our species by (a) clearing out older “models” and making room for new “models” (which in turn allows for continued evolutionary change) and (b) protecting the gene pool from individuals who have become laden with infectious parasites, then perhaps it makes sense for the body to naturally turn down the production of hormones (that would otherwise promote reproductive success and stimulate tissue growth/proliferation) in synchrony with the aging process. If you feel this way, it does not make sense to work against the body’s natural clock using hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
If you feel synthetic or bioidentical hormones are appropriate for you, you should first prepare the body using lifestyle intervention as well as provide the necessary nutrients to support the healthy, downstream detoxification of those hormones (keeping in mind that it can take years of eating properly to “train” the liver to properly detoxify). By the time patients come to see me, most are manifesting symptoms that are reflective of an underlying imbalance caused, over time, by unhealthy lifestyle habits. At this point, patients want immediate and drastic action. Even so, this still does not provide a rationale for long-term hormone replacement therapy.
In my opinion, natural Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can be used, if necessary in the short-term, and for others the long -term. Some typical conditions I recommend hormone related supplements are to address mood-related issues, fatigue, loss of sex drive, and muscle wasting. Topical creams for vaginal dryness are helpful as well. There is very little scientific evidence to support HRT as a treatment strategy for the chronic conditions that women naturally become more susceptible to after menopause (diabetes, CVD, osteoporosis, and cognitive decline) and there is certainly no rationale for placing women on HRT indefinitely. The bottom line is that, if your doctor recommends HRT, it is incumbent on him/her to make sure that those hormones are being properly metabolized and cleared from the body.
The long-term treatment strategy in post menopausal women should focus on:
Manage stress and nurture the adrenal glands in order to support continued hormone production.
Provide healthy, estrogen-mimicking support using phytoestrogens like soy isoflavones.
Use diet and lifestyle intervention to address chronic inflammatory conditions (diabetes, CVD, osteoporosis, and cognitive decline) that women naturally become more susceptible to after menopause (keeping in mind that insulin resistance plays such a significant role in perpetuating this inflammation).
I hope this helps!