Hormone replacement therapy
You won't find the information in this page common knowledge. Your doctor probably won't be aware of it. It's not likely that you will see an advertisement for natural progesterone in 'Time' or 'Newsweek' any time soon either.
If you're a woman currently taking estrogen or considering it, you can become better informed about this subject by reading on. Few women are actually given a choice. Menopause? Ah, time for estrogen pills. End of story. But with the life-threatening side effects which are associated with hormone replacement therapy, it's worth the effort to be informed.
The unpleasant side effects of menopause can be eliminated or minimized by diet, herbs, and natural supplementation, as we will see. Dangerous unproven drugs hardly seem worth the risk. Any doctor who still believes estrogen reduces a woman's risk for heart disease, should have his license suspended. Evidence to the contrary has been published in some of the most widely circulated, peer-reviewed journals - JAMA included - for the past 4 years.
If you are a woman whose doctor is trying to convince of the need for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) based on a reduction of your heart disease risk, you should know that your doctor is operating on old inaccurate information. The truth is that hormone replacement therapy does NOT decrease heart disease, it actually increases it. An increasing number of recently published studies continue to pour in, contradicting the long held traditional view pushed by the drug companies that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) reduces the risk of coronary disease. The truth is that it does not.
Although some women - such as women who have had their ovaries removed surgically - clearly benefit from it, estrogen should be used very cautiously.
What do recent studies on Hormone Replacement Therapy show?
Recent studies (1) are reiterating the fact that women receiving hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are actually at INCREASED RISK rather than having a reduced risk of heart disease as was previously thought.
A large randomized 2000 Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study (1), observed a 1.4% first year excess of coronary events, which is well beyond what could be caused by chance.
Over the duration of this study, coronary events totals were similar, but patients treated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) experienced them earlier.
According to many experts, women with or at high risk of coronary heart disease should not start hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Another study (2) published in 2000 in the New England Journal of Medicine found no evidence that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) had any effect on the rate of artery blockage.
Hormone Replacement Therapy linked to breast cancer
Adding to evidence that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can potentially raise a woman's risk of breast cancer, a recent study (3) published in JAMA found that hormone replacement therapy with estrogen alone or estrogen-plus-progestin was associated with a 70% increase in breast cancer risk when the hormone replacement therapy was taken for 5 years within the 6 years preceding the cancer diagnosis.
These study findings built on previous research which showed a link between breast cancer and long-term hormone replacement therapy.
Hormone replacement therapy study halted because of problems
One of the best-designed and largest federal studies (4) of hormone replacement therapy was halted in 2002 because the women taking the hormones (Premarin) after menopause were at greater risk for:
than those who did not take the drugs. The trial, which was supposed to last for 8.5 years or until 2003, was halted because of a significant increase in the risk of invasive breast cancer.
Premarin was the most-prescribed drug in the United States each year from 1992 through 1999 and perhaps the most prescribed drug ever.
It's important to recognize that the progestin drug used in this study is not the same as human progesterone, but a synthetic derivative of the natural female hormone progesterone. Progestin can actually kill the fetus if taken while the woman is pregnant. The only reason the progestin drug is used is that the drug companies have a PATENT on it and can make more money selling it than selling the safer natural progesterone.
After all these years of estrogen hype put out by pharmaceutical companies, it is becoming increasing clear even to traditional medicine that the benefits of hormone replacement therapy don't outweigh its risks.
We have already talked about the studies which show that estrogen does not help with heart disease.
So that leaves us with osteoporosis and hot flash relief.
Well, a study (5) published in 2001 in JAMA showed that estrogen is not helpful in preventing hip fractures.
Natural non-toxic alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy
Here are 3 natural methods for reducing the occurence of menopause annoyances:
Eat alkaline foods: raw vegetables and fruits, and whole grains. Acidifying foods, processed foods, fast foods, white refined sugar - the usual culprits responsible for most diseases - once again make their appearance.
Vegetables, fruits, raw whole foods, soy products contain some amounts of natural estrogens which help circumvent the roller-coaster hormonal imbalances most women experience. If phyto-estrogens are already part of a healing diet prior to menopause, there won't be such a dramatic drop when the body begins to downshift away from the demands of always preparing for reproduction. Phyto-estrogens are also found in a variety of herbs including black cohosh, alfalfa, and Licorice Root.
Black cohosh and other plant-sourced estrogens - Phytoestrogens
As far as hot flashes are concerned, it has been many women's experience that black cohosh works very effectively for hot flash relief.
According to Nutrition Business Journal, a trade publication, sales of black cohosh preparations in the U.S. jumped to $34 million in 1999, from $11 million the year before - a trend which is occurring almost entirely outside the medical mainstream, because many U.S. doctors behave as though herbal remedies don't exist.
Unanswered questions abound regarding the mechanism by which black cohosh works. A 1985 pharmacological study done in Germany reported that black cohosh contains an isoflavone, a type of phytoestrogen, or plant estrogen. (Isoflavones are also found in soy, which has been studied as a treatment for hot flashes, on the theory that a soy-rich diet is the reason Japanese women have fewer hot flashes.)
The isoflavone discovery offered a plausible explanation for how black cohosh works. But not all studies have been conclusive in terms of finding the compound.
Or perhaps black cohosh contains an estrogen-like compound which hasn't been identified yet. If so, black cohosh, like estrogen, might indeed turn out to be good for the bones and the heart. In my opinion, the best price on the internet for high quality black cohosh can be found here. I also like Puritan Pride's special promotions on black cohosh.
Natural progesterone cream
It's important to know that progesterone levels drop to zero at menopause. If estrogen levels have been high all along, problems begin to arise when the sister-hormone progesterone is no longer around to balance things out.
Over the past few years, many doctors have found that natural progesterone creams can take up the slack both before menopause and after menopause, in the case of a woman who has incorporated natural phyto-estrogen foods in her diet. She can benefit from the regulating influence of natural estrogen in small food-bound doses.
Natural progesterone cream offers many benefits to the menopausal woman. Osteoporosis, heart disease, hot flashes, breast cancer, skin shriveling, dryness are routinely avoided completely by the daily use of this natural lotion.
I spend a lot of time researching the best prices on the internet for natural supplements, and in my opinion, the lowest price for high quality progesterone cream can be found here. You may also want to check to see whether Puritan Pride's has any special promotions on progesterone cream.
The truth will eventually surface, and science will eventually clearly show without a doubt that nearly all estrogen given in medicine is not healthy, except in cases where a woman has had her ovaries removed. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) does not protect against heart disease as the majority of the estrogen drug company funded studies would have you believe. Hormone replacement therapy increases breast cancer risk by at least 1% per year, and hormone replacement therapy with progestin (MDA) increases the risk by 8% per year (possibly 30% after 4 years of use).(6-9)
I highly recommend "What You Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause" for the complete story on progesterone. In my opinion, if you are a woman you can't afford to skip his book.
(1) Archives of Internal Medicine October 23, 2000;160:2897-2900
(2) New England Journal of Medicine August 24, 2000; 343: 522-529, 530-537
(3) JAMA February 13, 2002;287:734-741
(4) JAMA July 17, 2002;288:321-333
(5) JAMA June 13, 2001;285:2891-2897, 2909-2910
(6) National Cancer Institute symposium, March 1998, entitled Estrogens as Endogenous Carcinogens in the Breast and Prostate, provided evidence from 26 renowned cancer research centers that estrogen or one or more of its metabolites is the cause of breast and prostate cancer.
(7) Formby B, & Wiley TS. Progesterone inhibits growth and induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells: inverse effects on Bcl-2 and p53. Annals of Clin and Lab Science 1998; 28: 360-369.
(8) Cavalieri EI, Stack DE, Devanesan PD, Todorovic R, et al. Molecular origin of cancer: catechol estrogen-3,4-quinones as endogenous tumor initiators. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1997; 94:10937-42.
(9) Schairer C, Lubin J, Troisis R, Sturgeon S, et al. Menopausal estrogen and estrogen-progestin replacement therapy and breast cancer risk. JAMA 2000; 283: 485-497.
© 2003 Healing Daily