Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) has been in the news lately. According to the July 12, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, many women and their medical doctors are reacting with anxiety, puzzlement and disbelief after a study found that the regimen used by millions of women does more harm than good. Particularly, the study released by the National Institutes of Health found that the drugs, a combination of estrogen and progestin, caused small increases in risk of nasties and outweighed the benefits.
Prempro is the drug name and has been used by women as a hormone replacement in order to reduce hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, and other symptoms of menopause. Treating menopause is as much art as science. This science just underscores the difficulty of replacing Mother Nature.
If you are on HRT, be very active in your medical management and work closely with your doctor. Good teamwork is in order. Many women and their doctors find a good deal of benefit in adding an herbal or supplemental approach to the difficult years of menopause. The natural approach uses herbs to block estrogen receptors, oils, hormones and other herbs to manage symptoms such as hot flashes and natural replacements for progestin.
There is a definite art to the use of naturals for menopause. Not everything will work for everyone and the amount of each supplement used can vary from woman to woman. Experience and the trusted advice from the women in my life led me to a certain few products.
Black Cohosh, Vitex (aka chasteberry), Dong Quai are the best herbs. Evening Primrose Oil is very beneficial, though it takes a good period (up to three months) to kick in. For hot flashes, Soy isoflavones or DHEA work well. Other choices, though secondary, are Blessed Thistle, Red Clover and vitamin E (natural). For cramping, try Crampbark. If there is still a uterus (no hysterectomy), then Wild Yam Creme or Progesterone Creme is almost always needed to balance out the added estrogen. Next week, the male version, andropause.