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Did you know that by the year 2020 over 60,000 women will be experiencing the time in their life known as menopause?

Menopause is not a disease; it is a life process.

Menopause is a time for a woman to shift from taking care of others to begin taking care of herself, a rebirth of the female spirit. Releasing our fertility can be a deeply empowering process where we focus on ourselves without the responsibilities that come with raising a family. Menopause can be a time for deep introspection, a tremendous opportunity for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual change.

Watch Dr. Purcell Talk About Menopause

Menopause is defined as a time in a woman’s life when she has not menstruated for one full year. Peri-menopause is known as the time in a woman’s life prior to menopause where a woman is still menstruating but is beginning to experience some symptoms. Menopause for every woman is unique.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

On September 10, 2003, Reuters health reported that the state of confusion among menopausal women is so great that the FDA decided to step in and create a web site designed to answer some basic questions that women have regarding hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

The confusion started in July of 2002 when the Women’s’ Health Initiative, a study of 16,000 women conducted to determine the effects of HRT was prematurely stopped by the investigators due to the increased risk of heart disease, strokes, heart attacks, and breast cancer for women taking Prempro. Prempro is a combination form of HRT containing Premarin, synthetic estrogen derived from pregnant horse urine, and Provera, synthetic medroxyprogesterone acetate.

The Women’s’ Health Initiative was initially conducted to see if HRT would be protective against heart disease, cognitive decline, cancer, osteoporosis, and aging. It was determined that in addition to increased risks of cancer, strokes and heart disease, conventional HRT does not prevent dementia or alter its progression. Conventional HRT was shown to be protective against osteoporosis and colon cancer but the benefits of these two did not outweigh the risks.

Unfortunately, no study was conducted using natural bio-identical hormones that are reflective of the actual hormones we make in our bodies. The speculation is that natural hormones are better and may not have the risks associated with them that synthetic hormones do.

Do Hormones Help with Menopause?

Yes, hormones can help alleviate the symptoms of menopause by boosting your body’s hormone levels. Hormones can also be used trans-dermally and trans-vaginally to assist with vaginal dryness.

Should Any Women Avoid Using Hormones?

Yes, the list includes: women with liver disease, heart disease, blood clots, a history of cancer, vaginal bleeding, or who think they may be pregnant.

I Am Having Menopausal Symptoms What is the Best Therapy for Me?

By far the best therapy for you is going to a doctor who understands the health risks to women during the menopausal years. These include:

  • osteoporosis
  • cancer
  • heart disease
  • dementia
  • arthritis
  • diabetes
  • congestive heart failure
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • vaginal atrophy (a thinning of the vaginal walls)

Then a thorough history must be taken to determine the reasons behind your symptoms. Finally, a treatment plan will be developed that treats the causes of your symptoms with a way to help balance your hormones naturally through nutrition, nutritional supplements, and herbal remedies. I do suggest the use of topical estrogen cream for vaginal dryness and only use natural hormones in low dose as a quick fix until the underlying causes are taken care of. For women who are on hormones the reasons why really need to be addressed along with an evaluation to see if the benefits out weigh the risks for them.

Are There Natural Ways to Help My Menopausal Symptoms?

Yes, what you eat every day can help alleviate the severity of your symptoms. Foods that nourish your liver are crucial to hormone balancing. Taking vitamins and other supplements can help supply your body with the nutrients and co-factors to better use the hormones your body is producing. In some cases herbal remedies are used to enhance hormone utilization. Dietary modifications that will make the transition easier include:

  • Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Eating clean sources of protein (Hormone free meats, lamb, chicken, wild game, eggs, and beans).
  • Eating things that assist your liver in keeping your body detoxified: Beets and beet greens, radishes, dandelion greens, onions and garlic, root vegetables.