Hormone Replacement Therapy

After my last post on menopause, I got a lot of comments and you shared a lot of personal stories regarding your individual struggles with menopause. I also know that many of you are trying to make this biological time in your life more manageable. And it true that 15-25% of women have menopausal symptoms so severe that they need to be on hormone replacement therapy, known as HRT. HRT can be a combination of prescription, bio-identical, estrogen and progesterone creams or injections.

Most of the symptoms you experience are not caused by an overall lack of estrogen, rather it’s the sudden drop in estrogen that is what can cause severe hot flashes and other symptoms to occur. Therefore HRT can alleviate some symptoms but we also have to look closely at each individual and see what works and what’s right for you. Typically you should take into consideration a few factors; age, family health history, and symptom severity.

What I have found is that HRT may be effective for some women but it also can come with the risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and an increased risk of cancer. Most research does support short term use of HRT in low doses. And when you really dig into some of the studies you find that unless you are in that 15-25% you can actually begin to alleviate most symptoms by doing the following:

  • Adjust your diet and add a few supplements: more whole foods, less sugar and alcohol, consume more greens, take in more calcium, make sure Vitamin D levels are where they should be, and use phytoestrogens to help restore hormone levels. This means eating foods that are higher in estrogen, like edamame, and omega 3’s, like flax seeds.

  • Lift heavy things: a good strength program can not only support bone density but can play a major role in balancing hormones.

  • Prioritize good sleep: 7.5 hours a day is what most studies show as being the most beneficial in alleviating symptoms and keeping hormones balanced.

What are you doing to alleviate your symptoms?

See you in the gym,

Aaron