Now that hormonal replacement therapy, also known as HRT, has been found to have serious side effects, women with menopausal symptoms are scrambling to figure out what to do.
The recent study implicated HRT in increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, breast cancer and blood clots.
HRT is a relatively new phenomenon. Since the 1940s, Premarin, an estrogen produced from the urine of pregnant mares, has kept American women’s menopausal symptoms at bay.
Once animal rights groups exposed the inhumane production of Premarin, which keeps pregnant horses in confined quarters with no exercise and little water, women became interested in the possible use of plant-based estrogens.
If menopause, like menstruation, pregnancy and birth, is a natural cycle of life, why are women avoiding the transition? In traditional cultures where menopause is considered one of life’s natural transitions, menopausal symptoms are rare.
Our American way of life has lost touch with preventative wisdom. Out of sync with mother nature’s dance, we no longer get up with the sun or sleep when it’s dark, eat when we are hungry or rest when we’re tired.
Yet our internal biological clock is still set to nature’s rhythms.
Violating these rhythms, we experience internal discord and stress. Stress depletes the adrenal glands responsible for maintaining hormonal balance. Depleted or exhausted adrenal glands directly increase menopausal symptoms. To prevent menopause from being a devastating passage, it’s vital to eat nutrient-dense foods because they provide the nourishment needed to create hormonal balance.
It’s important to avoid highly processed foods because they deplete the body, robbing nutrients needed to cleanse, repair and rejuvenate.
It’s wise to avoid pesticides and chemical exposure found not only in food and water but body and hair products, because they mimic human hormones that in turn throw the hormonal systems off balance.
A holistic, traditional approach includes the use of healing herbs in combination with a balanced lifestyle, including plenty of exercise, fresh air and rest.
HRT recovery is a medical intervention that calls for working with a knowledgeable homeopathic or naturopathic physician.
With support it’s not only possible to transition naturally through the wild territory of menopause, it’s a journey that is sure to offer some amazing gifts on the other side.
Willa Keizer, is a classical homeopath in Santa Cruz, Liz Koch is the Way of Life health education coordinator.