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Is HRT safe?

Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 38 and 58 years, and for some women it is a difficult and emotional time. It is a natural process – the body is merely entering a non-reproductive time of life. At menopause, a woman stops ovulating, and her ovaries stop producing oestrogen and progesterone. She then relies on secondary production of these hormones which is achieved through other pathways that rely on cholesterol and adrenal hormone synthesis.

The natural perspective varies quite significantly from mainstream medicine. Its focus is to encourage the body to function as naturally as possible and to not treat this transition as an illness. It is difficult to ascertain if drug companies, or simply our desire for eternal youth influences society’s perception. There are just too many factors trying to keep women young but at what cost?

Menopausal symptoms range in severity and frequency for women. Some women simply glide through this transition whilst others have a sincerely debilitating experience and need some support. I am certainly pro supporting these women but encourage supporting the natural body processes and treatments that have been used extensively throughout history. We are typically a society of quick fixes and yes HRT may offer that to some, but what else are they sacrificing?

In 2002, highly controversial research came to the fore and suggested that women had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer. This was especially noted in older women who were taking HRT for extended periods of time. Recommendations now state that HRT is safe if taken for shorter periods and in younger women. Research shows that at least 40% of women discontinue HRT within the first 8 months due to side effects including bleeding spotting and breast tenderness and many women are reluctant to even start HRT.

The reality is that HRT comprises of synthetic hormone analogues that are not naturally occurring in the body. Through the natural transition the body in no longer expecting to receive the same hormones. Treatment should focus on normalizing and supporting secondary production, which can be achieved.