(Natural News) Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or simply hormone therapy (HT), is the only medical treatment that successfully minimizes the side effects of menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats. It is also known to address other female problems such as vaginal dryness and uterine discomfort, as well as inhibit the production of estrogen in breast cancer patients. HRT may have many benefits, but it also has its share of negative side effects.
Many studies have reported that the prolonged use of HT may result in a higher risk of getting stroke, blood clots, uterine cancer, and breast cancer. In addition to this, a study published in Menopause found that stopping or discontinuing hormone therapy will also increase the risk of contracting heart disease and stroke. The study examined 432,775 post-menopausal Finnish participants from 1994 to 2013. Researchers found that women younger than 60 years of age who discontinued HT showed an increased risk of death related to cardiac problems, as compared to age-matched females who still continued taking HT. There were 5,204 recorded cardiac deaths and 3,434 stroke deaths during the time period of the study. Mysteriously, the increased risk disappeared completely one year after discontinuing the therapy. On the other hand, women above 60 years of age did not show any changes in risk of death from the aforementioned conditions.
The study has been a hotly debated topic due to its limitations and findings. The data cannot be conclusive in itself due to the fact that there were unrecorded patient data, including family history of diseases, current health status, and risk behaviors that may have accelerated the development of the cardiac disorders and stroke. Furthermore, lifestyle is also a considerable factor in health, and should have been included in the study. What is clear about the findings is that hormone therapy, whether you continue using it or not, may result in negative side effects that eventually lead to death.
Hormone therapy is increasingly becoming reliable in treating the symptoms of menopause, with the technology nowadays and the scientific breakthroughs researchers continue to make. HT may be the most available service one person can get to treat menopausal symptoms, but engaging in a healthy lifestyle may be more suitable and release the individual from reliance on drugs and other medications. Some natural alternatives to hormone therapy include the items below. (Related: Natural menopause treatment with herbs, food remedies and homeopathy relieves cause of symptoms.)
- Vitamins B, D, and E – These vitamins, found naturally in vegetables, fruits, and other whole foods, help you cope with the symptoms of menopause by supporting your nervous system, your skeletal system, and reducing the severity and frequency of hot flashes.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – Found mostly in fish and seafood, these fatty acids help prevent skin dryness, fatigue, depression, and joint aches that come with menopause. In addition to that, omega-3 fatty acids are also known to reduce the likelihood of developing breast cancer.
- Black cohosh – This is a medicinal herb used historically to help menopausal women tolerate its symptoms. Get advice from your local healthcare professional regarding preparations of black cohosh, and how to incorporate it into your diet.
- Phytoestrogenic foods – Phytoestrogens are simply “dietary estrogens” (not produced in the body). At times, menopausal women experience a drop in estrogen levels, so hormone therapy supplies the body with it. Foods that contain phytoestrogens include soya foods, lentils, linseeds, mungbeans, garlic, fennel, and parsley.
- Milk thistle – Like black cohosh, milk thistle has been used for centuries to treat ailments in the liver, kidneys, and gall bladder. This herb produces a bioflavinoid called silymarin, which helps balance hormones in the body by protecting the liver, and helping it excrete excesses.
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