A large-scale 5-year clinical study presented in 2002 (The women’s Health Initiative’) concluded that Hormone Replacement Therapy/HRT substantially increased the risk of stroke, pulmonary embolism (PE), blood clots (e.g. deep vein thrombosis), ovarian cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, colorectal cancer, and hip fracture. The report led women in their droves to abandon HRT. Since this publication, researchers and pharmaceutical companies have been debunking the methods and conclusions of this study, and subsequent research regarding the benefits and harms of synthetic steroid hormone replacement therapy have been highly conflicting.
Regardless of the outcomes of numerous studies, during the past five years, HRT has once again been heavily promoted by doctors and influential female celebrities, so a growing number of women are turning to synthetic hormone therapy. HRT is in such high demand, shortages were reported in May 2022.
From an alternative medicine perspective, menopause is a natural part of life that doesn’t need to be ‘cured’ with pharmaceutical drugs. Around the age of 45-55 years, it’s appropriate for our ovaries to significantly decline their production of sex hormones (oestrogen and progesterone), and for periods to dwindle, then cease, as we move out of the ‘fertile’ phase of our life (as our ovaries are no longer required to release eggs).
My aim is to help you learn which foods, nutrients and lifestyle practices can help you breeze naturally through peri-menopause and menopause without being plagued by uncomfortable or distressing symptoms (and without the need for synthetic hormones).
What can be helpful to understand, is that there are many 'menopausal' symptoms that are NOT actually caused by 'out-of-whack' sex hormones. They're manifesting because of other poorly functioning glands and organs. It's also useful to know, that aside from the reproductive system, there are a number of body systems that work together to ensure our hormones remain in harmony as we age, and that they decline at the appropriate pace, so we can continue to feel energised, sensual and strong in mind and body.
In conjunction with our ovaries, our adrenal ‘stress’ glands (& fat cells) play a significant role in synthesising oestrogens, progesterone and testosterone. Our liver shoulders the huge responsibility of activating (i.e. making the sex hormones useable by cells), regulating, metabolising (breaking down) and detoxifying sex hormones (natural and synthetic steroid sex hormones/HRT). It also creates sex hormone binding globulin/SHBG (to transport androgens and oestrogens). And finally, our gut excretes old-utilised sex hormones (i.e. to help get rid of harmful oestrogens that can increase our risk of breast and uterine cancers). If any of these glands or organs are functioning poorly or are overburdened, then sex hormone levels can be disrupted, and symptoms that we associate with 'menopause', but aren't actually caused by hormonal imbalance, can manifest.
For example, if your liver is being bombarded with an untold number of toxins (i.e. adrenaline and cortisol stress hormones, hair dyes, heavy metals & chemicals in make-up & body care products, dry-cleaning chemicals, botox, caffeine, alcohol, petrol fumes, pollution, ‘natural flavourings’, etc.), the liver has to turbo-charge its detoxification processes, and this creates ‘liver heat’ (you’ll hear this expression used by Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners & acupuncturists). The large amount of heat produced by the liver has to be dispersed out of the body - this occurs via the skin, leading to hot flushes & night sweats ('liver heat' can also induce headaches/migraines, anger, irritation & sleep disturbances, as the liver stores and releases negative emotions and works at full-capacity during the hours of 1-4am). This is why it's common to experience an exacerbation in waves of hot flushes during a period of heightened stress, after a glass of wine, cup of coffee or chunk (or two:) of chocolate (when you overwhelm your liver with these toxins/stimulants).
A stressful lifestyle can also play a major role in 'menopausal' symptoms. Why? - because the adrenal ‘stress’ glands use a great deal of energy, nutrient reserves and precursors (i.e. cholesterol & pregnenolone) to produce the steroid stress hormone 'cortisol'. Consequently, steroid sex hormone production gets side-lined and testosterone, progesterone and oestrogen levels plummet (after all, whose going to be having sex/ trying to procreate when they’re busy running away from a tiger?). When the adrenal stress glands are overworked, ‘menopausal’ symptoms of vaginal dryness & low libido are commonplace.
HRT can manage symptoms or minimise disruptions to your daily life (the mechanism as to how it does this is another story), but it's not getting to the crux of the problem - one or more body systems that are flagging. If you want to prevent or permanently resolve ‘menopausal’ symptoms (rather than mask them with synthetic HRT or bio-identical hormones - which can be accompanied by insidious side-effects), you just need to give your reproductive system, digestive system, adrenals and liver some love, nourishment and support (whichever are struggling). HRT can be an option for SHORT-TERM relief if symptoms are significantly interfering with your quality of life. But addressing the root causes of your 'menopausal' symptoms (alongside) is a far healthier option than longterm use of this pharmaceutical drug.
A simple and effective place to start, is to discover whether you’re obtaining sufficient nutrients required to optimise the functioning of these body systems (e.g. zinc, magnesium, B vitamins and vitamin C). The OLIGOSCAN TEST can reveal any deficiencies that need to be rectified.
Alongside boosting your nutrient levels, you may want to try this hormone-friendly smoothie designed to nourish the reproductive system, liver, gut, adrenal glands to prevent and relieve ‘menopausal’ symptoms:
BEET & BERRY SMOOTHIE
1 small to medium banana
1 large beetroot, steamed (optional, if you're not a fan:)
1 cup of mixed berries (e.g. raspberries, blueberries, wild blueberries, blackberries or goji berries)
1 handful of organic red grapes
1 mug of hot water infused with 1 bag of Heath & Heather raspberry leaf tea & 1 bag of Neuners Red Clover Leaf tea (available from The Natural Dispensary, Amazon or Ocado) - herbal tea infusion can be prepared the night before or infused for 5-10 minutes before blending smoothie)
1 tsp Organic Traditions Ashwagandha Root Powder (available from The Natural Dispensary or Planet Organic)
1 capsule of Terranova Milk thistle (available from The Natural Dispensary or Planet Organic)
Desired quantity of coconut water or plant-based milk (if 'creaminess' is desired).
NB: Pomegranate seeds, turmeric powder, spirulina, barley grass juice powder and sage tea are foods /liquids that also enhance liver detoxification and balance sex hormones, should you wish to experiment with different ingredients.
If you wish to learn more about the Oligsocan Test, and discover if you have any vitamin or mineral deficiencies, please feel free to get in touch by phone (07789 936344) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org), I'll be happy to explain how it could help eradicate 'menopausal' symptoms.
PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU'RE TAKING ANY PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS (E.G. HRT, MONOAMINE OXIDASE INHIBITORS, SSRI'S, LEVOTHYROXINE, ETC), PLEASE CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR TO CHECK FOR CONTRAINDICATIONS BEFORE TAKING ASHWAGANDHA . IF YOU HAVE A STOMACH/PEPTIC ULCER PLEASE ALSO DISCUSS USAGE WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE ADDING THIS HERB TO YOUR DIET.