At the event of menopause, the hormonal metabolism undertakes significant modifications which lead to some typical and unpleasant symptoms such as hot flushes, anxiety, sleepless nights and an increase in the relative risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
To overcome these symptoms, hormonal replacement therapy should be taken into account.
However, the “golden time” of HRT was censored when a WHI (Women Health Initiative) study reveal that conventional HRT increased the risk of breast cancer by 26%, heart attack by 29%, stroke by 32%and deep venous thrombosis by 113%! It is primarily found in those women who received an Equine (horse) conjugated estrogen and synthetic progestin (acting as progesterone). According to studies, Progestin is responsible for more side effects than Estrogen. This has made doctors; that prescribe HRT, more cautious in selecting patients prior to the treatment. Unfortunately, this also has made many potential patients more scared and unwilling to use HRT.
Conventional HRT is often given for short-term relief from menopausal symptoms, mainly hot flushes. The more recent forms of conventional HRT that are being used include: skin patches, sub-dermal implants, gels rather than pills or injections at a lower dose which have a more local effect and decrease the risk of thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. However, the other risks remained the same, and potential patients don’t want to increase the risk of Breast cancer.
In the past ten years, Bio-Identical hormones have played a significant role in treating menopausal symptoms. The life expectancy of western women is increasing permanently. Therefore, proper treatment during menopause will ensure a healthier life, long after menopause has begun. Today’s menopausal women accept the motto: “fifties are the new thirties” and their demand is not just to get rid of hot flushes but to have the quality of life similar to that of younger women. Therefore, they need to use hormones for a longer period and should ensure that their health is not jeopardized.
Integrative medicine doctors prefer to use Bio-identical hormones that are chemically identical to those produced in a women’s body; they are associated with the practice of pharmaceutical compounding to customized dosage, which can be adjusted to a particular women’s hormone levels. This method is more effective than using the “one size fits all” approach typical to conventional HRT. In the studies, physiological data and clinical outcomes demonstrate that BHRT is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, and is more effective than their synthetic and animal-derived counterparts, (which are in the conventional HRT). Read more
What do we need to know about Estrogen?
Any hormone added to the body can be dangerous if it is not properly used, especially Estrogen. Our body views our own Estrogen as a potentially dangerous substance; that is why even our Estrogen gets detoxified in the same pathway in the liver where the majority of toxins, pesticides, herbicides and drugs get detoxified. Our genetic makeup will determine if we have a favorable Estrogen metabolism or not. If we don’t have a favorable metabolism, we produce more dangerous Estrogen metabolite which is sporadic breast cancer enduring. Examples of this dangerous metabolite are 4-OH and 16 alpha-OH estrogens. If we add an extra Estrogen burden (any HRT conventional or bio-identical), we can create potentially harmful metabolites. Read more
Integrative medicine provides the tools that we need to be able to identify whether a patient creates these dangerous estrogens or not. One of these tools is Genetic testing which can determine Estrogen detoxification. In addition, hormone ratios, harmful urinary metabolites and a detailed lifestyle history (finding a number of environmental xenoestrogens) will be used to identify complete Estrogen burden before prescribing BHRT thereby increasing safety.
picture source: www.hormones4life.com