Natural Treatments for Post-Menopausal Symptoms
Narrowing down the discussion of post-menopausal symptoms and treatments requires the understanding of the complex set of variables within the female body. Hormone balance is more than just adding the hormones as a replacement, and taking that action alone can be dangerous. Addressing the concern of hormone therapy treatment means looking at synthetic, which are chemical mimickers versus bioidentical, and an in-depth study using blood and saliva testing, including thyroid tests. What you add to your regiment depends on how you metabolize the elements and you will need to take a few extra steps to ensure that you are being treated in a safe and healthy manner.
HRT vs. BHRT
Mainstream medicine seems to take a one-size-fits-all attitude. Standard physicians rarely do any testing, and instead, prescribe a hormone replacement therapy (HRT) of estrogen and progesterone for post-menopause symptoms. These hormones are typically sourced from other animals or are synthetically created, and are in large enough quantities that they reduce menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, depression, and weight gain. However, if your body can’t metabolize the hormones, they remain in the body and can cause serious medical problems. Estrogen that has not been metabolized is stored in the body and has been linked to various types of cancer. This topic is the main reason that so many are seeking alternative natural hormone treatments. BHRT (bioidentical hormone replacement treatment) is an integrative approach that makes use of elements that are usually plant-based and emulate the hormones that our bodies produce. Some BHRT products are made via pharmaceutical companies whereas others are personally formulated to match the individual at a compounding pharmacy. BHRT is considered to be a safer alternative; however, hormone lab testing still needs to be done to make sure that there is a balance of the correct hormone treatment amounts and is considered to be a foundation to treatment.
Lifestyle, Gut, and Diet
Rather than throw hormones at a patient, integrative medical professionals seem to focus on a variety of other health areas that can help to return an individual into balance. Hormone lab testing combined with in-depth blood content testing can reveal the levels of estrogen and how they are metabolized and stored, the metals and alternative hormone contents that we get from food and the environment, and a review of lifestyle as a whole. The goal is to try to bring the body into balance. Changes to a healthier diet and lifestyle can affect the way the hormones are accepted and metabolized. Most are finding out that the gut plays a vital role as an interactive catalyst for many of the body functions. Getting the gut back into a healthy state can often cascade so that other symptoms and problems subside.
How Our Grandmothers Treated Menopause Symptoms
While we are finally having the conversation regarding menopause, it has taken many years to get here. Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers simply had to deal with symptoms, quietly sharing the natural treatments with each other. The mainstream medical community continues to reduce the importance of natural alternatives, and with that attitude, scientific study on potential therapies from nature remains “iffy” at best. Since there aren’t any simple answers to personal treatment, women have relied on experimenting with each herbal remedy. Throughout history, some of the most popular for treating a variety of menopausal symptoms have included: black cohosh, red clover, dong quai, ginseng, kava, and evening primrose oil. Women of today take higher levels of prescription medications, and physicians are warning of the interactions between natural alternatives and the meds that they are taking. Anyone taking prescription medications needs to confer with the pharmacist or go online to the pharmaceutical website to investigate drug interactions with any natural supplement. Some assume that because something is “natural” that it is safe; forgetting that many things in nature are dangerous. When taken over long periods of time, a drug interaction can wreak havoc on the body, creating other systemic problems.
The best approach to dealing with post-menopausal symptoms is to locate a good integrative physician, get in-depth hormone lab testing and discuss natural and alternative treatment therapies and lifestyle changes that are custom designed for the way your body works.