When it comes to women’s health issues, one of hottest debated areas is the issue of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). What exactly is HRT and why is it so feverishly debated? To understand this issue, it’s important to first understand exactly what exactly included in HRT.
How HRT Began –
In the earlier 1930’s, doctors discovered that there is a possibility to isolate natural estrogen from a pregnant woman’s urine. During that period, doctors worked to create estrogen in their laboratories and isolate it from the urine of pregnant mares.
Estrogen is an important hormone in a female. It is also known as a sex hormone. Another hormone important in the female cycle is progesterone. For those women who still have their uterus, progesterone is added to the estrogen dosage because it reduces the risk of developing uterine cancer. HRT is a method of replacement of female sex hormones including estrogen, progesterone, etc.
Estrogen replacement therapy can be used to treat women pre-menopausal, during, or after menopause. Menopause means having no menstrual cycle for six months to one year. The symptoms of menopause can include severe hot flashes, sleeplessness, vaginal dryness, discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse. Estrogen therapy is also prescribed for osteoporosis or coronary heart diseases.
Natural estrogen replacement therapy involves the use of bio-identical hormones or, in some cases, other natural hormones. If estrogen is not being produced by the body, then natural estrogen replacement can be a safe measure. In synthetic hormone replacement, the laboratory synthesized estrogen is administered in the body. But, this estrogen brings with it increased risk of side effects and adverse reaction.
There are three types of replacement therapy for estrogen. These include herbal, bio-identical and synthetic estrogens. Of these three, only the first two are considered as natural treatments and are used for natural estrogen replacement. Herbal estrogens are derived from herbs and plants and are also known as phytoestrogens. These are not necessarily identical to natural estrogens of the body.
Some of the Potential Benefits of Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy:
* Protection against atherosclerosis, fibrocystic and endometrial and breast cancers.
* Promotes fat burning for energy and bone building
* Improves concentration and memory, blood flow, skin elasticity
* Reduces depression, hot flashes, and sleep difficulties
* Prevents vaginal thinning and dryness
* Acts as a mental tonic to improve short-term memory and for better sleep.
* Improves sexuality through enhanced sensation, sex drive and libido, increased build-up of vaginal epithelium and improved pelvic floor muscles
* Provides smoother skin, tauter bladder/pelvic floor muscles, and firmer breasts
* Increases longevity
* Protection against atherosclerosis, fibrocystic and endometrial cancers and breast cancers.
Since hormones used in natural hormone replacement therapy are similar to those produced in the body, they are relatively safe and more effective. The therapy also aims to imitate the natural processes of the body to provide symptomatic relief, without the side effects and long-term risks associated with the traditional synthetic hormone replacement therapy.
Today HRT has become common and popular choice for women as they age. Already popular with women, HRT is increasingly becoming popular among men. The chief reason for availing hormone replacement therapy is to delay the natural aging process! Aging is inevitable and it cannot be totally halted as much as we try! However, untimely aging or appearance of the visible signs of aging in younger people is not desirable. To restore youth, impart luster to our body, and rejuvenate our mind, many physicians recommend bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.
Why Bio-identical HRT?
In females, an essential hormone is an estrogen, which again includes a class of three hormones – estrone, estriol, and estradiol, all of which are essential for the maturity of sex organs in females and play vital roles during puberty, ovulation, and pregnancy. As women approach menopause, the secretion of these hormones begin to fluctuate. Under normal conditions, estrogen secretion gradually decreases in perimenopausal women and stops after menopause. However, women are commonly found experiencing frequent mood swings, sluggishness, memory loss, hypoglycemia, migraines, irregular periods with heavy bleeding, tenderness in breasts, asthma, and allergies during perimenopausal period, which according to physicians occur due to estrogen dominance syndrome (EDS). Add to this list of adverse conditions the fact that one of the chief side effects of increased secretion of estrogen is acceleration in the aging process. Women in her mid-30’s or 40’s may look 10 years older than her actual age. Hence, many women choose HRT to reverse these unwanted side effects while also helping preserve her youthful feeling and appearance. Some women find it much more effective to take a combination of estrogen and progesterone to simulate the naturally occurring production of these two hormones.
HRT can help preserve certain aspects of youthfulness, but it also can carry with it some negative side effects and risks. Be sure and speak with your doctor or health professional to hear both sides of the story before choosing to implement HRT.
If you are trying to decide if HRT is a right fit for you, be sure to discuss it with an experienced physician, such as Dr. William Cheatham. Conveniently located in Pompano Beach, Dr. Cheatham is a master in addressing his patients needs and educating them on the pros and cons of any therapy so they can make the best possible choice for their individual needs. Call Dr. Cheatham’s office today at 954-364-3673 to schedule your appointment. You’ll be glad you did!