If you are looking for alternative hormone replacement therapy for women, then you are probably at or nearing the age of menopause. Many women are interested in alternatives because of the health dangers of hormone replacement therapy. The good news is that there are alternatives. Different things work for different women. A lot depends on lifestyle, diet and exercise, as well as your overall physical health.
Lately bio-identical hormones have been suggested as alternative hormone replacement therapy for women, but in actuality, no one knows if bio-identical hormones carry the health dangers of hormone replacement therapy, or not. They are called bio-identical because the molecular structure of the hormones is identical to a woman’s own. Doctors and compounding pharmacists create a mix that is designed specifically for an individual woman. It is probably safer than conventional HRT, but no studies concerning long-term use have been done. The therapy was made popular by a book written by Suzanne Somers, in which she states that she will take them for the rest of her life.
According to reports, Ms. Somers did not have issues related to lifestyle, diet or exercise and she was in generally good health, but was devastated by the symptoms associated with menopause. Other women have felt the same way. While doctors and major pharmaceutical companies have focused on estrogen replacement, bio-identical HRT takes into account levels of all hormones, and replaces those that are lacking. For example, low testosterone levels in women can cause women to have difficulty reaching orgasm, among other things, but traditional hormone replacement therapy does not include testosterone, only equine estrogens and synthetic progesterone.
The better women’s clinics evaluate a woman’s lifestyle, diet and exercise regimen before recommending treatment, mainly because of the dangers of hormone replacement therapy, but also because HRT is not necessary for all women. There are many lifestyle factors that can aggravate menopausal symptoms. Smoking cigarettes, excessive alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyles, poor diet and inadequate vitamin intake are some of them. Studies have shown that excess stress also increases symptoms and that stress reduction therapy reduces them. Menopause can be a very stressful time in a woman’s life and the amount of stress that women are under continues to increase.
When lifestyle is not a factor and a woman’s diet is well balanced and includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, vitamin supplementation may be necessary, particularly calcium, vitamin D and magnesium. A supplement that contains soy or red clover isoflavones (a type of plant estrogen), as well as calcium, vitamin D and magnesium may help prevent osteoporosis. Studies have shown that estrogen, as well as vitamin D and magnesium, improve the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
In fact plant hormones, like those found in soy, red clover and wild yam, is considered alternative hormone replacement therapy by some. In addition there are botanicals that effectively reduce hot flashes. One is black cohosh.
There are plant components that reduce mood swings and depression, like 5 HTP, which is used by the body to create serotonin, which, in turn, is important for regulating mood, appetite and sleep cycles.
There are botanicals that the body can use to create hormones, such as tribulus terrestris. Contrary to what some people think, not all of a woman’s hormones are produced by the ovaries. Some are produced by the adrenals. Some are produced from cholesterol. Some are created from other hormones. If you believe that the body can create what the body needs, if it has the proper “ingredients”, then you may see that taking synthetic hormones can actually reduce the body’s ability to create its own. Particularly if the standard dosage contains more of one or the other than the body needs.
The alternative hormone replacement therapy for women that consists of bio-identical hormones may have shortcomings in that hormonal levels can vary from day to day and week to week. So, while the compound created may be correct on one day, it may not be on the next.