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This is the first of 3 blogs addressing Female hormonal issues.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
In 2002, the National Institute of Health was conducting a ten-year clinical trial, involving over 16,000 women, which studied Hormone Replacement Therapy, a program that Doctors had been widely prescribing to women since the 1960's. The study was abruptly discontinued because the level of dangerous side effects and diseases was found to be so great. These diseases all increased:
Pulmonary Embolism risk (blood clots in lungs) increased by 114 per cent!
Strokes by 41 per cent!
Heart attacks and cardiac deaths by 29 per cent!
Breast Cancer by 26 per cent!
There were slight reductions in colon cancer and hip fracture but not significant enough to outweigh the dangers.
For thirty years, the safety of this process was debated in the alternative health world and it has now finally been scientifically proven that Permarin, the drug in the Pempro Estrogen therapy, can cause way more harm than good in the general female population. For forty years, drug companies promoted the myth that Estrogen deficiency was the major factor in menopausal symptoms. What has surprised me is that more women aren't extremely angry that this went on for so long before something was done about it. Natural or Functional Medicine follows the view that these problems are a sign of overall hormone imbalance in both the ovarian hormones and the ones that generate stress response by the adrenal glands.
If anything, it has been shown more and more that women are more Estrogen dominant then deficient. It's all relative. Even if a woman's Estrogen drops, Progesterone, the other female hormone, drops much more dramatically near menopause. Plus, many other factors can increase Estrogen.
An inactive woman who consumes more calories than she uses, will have elevated Estrogen. Estrogen levels are also increased from Xenostrogens, chemical compounds found in our daily lives that are mostly byproducts of the petroleum industry. These are found in plastics, Styrofoam, many beauty and hair products, meat from any animals given growth hormones and pesticides used on non-organic fruits and vegetables. Birth Control pills have Estrogen also.
Progesterone needs to be in balance with Estrogen. Emotional and physical stress can significantly reduce Progesterone by affecting the levels and ratio of cortisol and DHEA produced by the Adrenal glands. The key to rebalancing the overall female hormone system is to balance the Adrenal system, establish an appropriate diet and specifically balance the Estrogen and Progesterone levels naturally till the Adrenal system takes back over.
The first step is to take a saliva test, which shows the specific levels of female hormones available for the body and the state of health or exhaustion of the Adrenal glands. The Adrenals are responsible for 33 per cent of the overall hormones in pre-menopausal women and half of them in menopausal women. This is why many female hormone treatment programs are often unsuccessful unless you include the Adrenal system as well.
The next blog will address specific symptoms in peri-menopausal and menopausal women that can directly relate to hormone imbalance.