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Natural Hormone Replacement
Article by Trina M. Seligman
HRT – Hormone Replacement Therapy
HRT is the common name for the conventional hormone replacement therapy program prescribed by your medical practitioner, and may include Premarin and Provera.
NHR – Natural Hormone Replacement (Bio-identical Hormones)
NHR is the common name for the natural hormones prescribed by your practitioner of natural medicine, and usually includes Triest (estrone,estradiol,estriol) or Biest (estradiol, estriol), Progesterone and if necessary DHEA and testosterone. Natural hormones are also referred to as “bio-identical hormones” because they are the same as the hormones produced by your own body.
Plant Hormone/Botanical Hormone Replacement
Plant hormones is another way of referring to plant-based: “phytoestrogen” or “phytoprogesterone” hormones, which are commonly prescribed by your Naturopath or Herbalist. These may include Soy, Black cohosh, Vitex, Dang quai, Glycyrrhiza, or Dioscorea, to name a few.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)/Acupuncture
TCM/Acupuncture can be very helpful, whatever program you choose. This can help to balance the hormones if you are switching from HRT to NHR, or if you are just starting NHR or a plant-based hormone program.
How to Decide What is Right for You?
The decision on which type of program you should use, if any, depends on a variety of factors:
Family History: The following risk factors may encourage you to use NHR or HRT plus TCM/Acupuncture:
Personal History: The following personal risk factors may encourage you to use NHR or HRT plus TCM/Acupuncture:
Poor Bone Density, or history of long-term Corticosteroid use.
Unrelenting symptoms of menopause: hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, poor memory, night-sweats, vaginal dryness, low libido
Family or Personal History: The following Risk factors may encourage you to use a Plant-based “hormone-replacement” program plus TCM/Acupuncture:
History of gynecologic cancer (breast or uterine)
History of uterine fibroids or Fibrocystic Breast Disease
Mild symptoms of menopause
Philosophical belief against hormone replacement
Things To Remember:
You can always change your mind : if one form of treatment doesn’t seem right to you down the road, we can change the therapy.
A Baseline bone density and follow-up bone density exams are recommended.
A baseline mammogram is recommended.
Blood work to confirm the dose of NHR that you are using is necessary, to make sure that we are not “underdosing” and missing the benefit, or “overdosing” and stimulating your body too much.
Annual physical exams and pelvic exams are recommended.
Regular Breast Self Exams (BSE) are recommended monthly – if you are unsure how to do it – ask!
What your doctor may not tell you about menopause: John Lee
Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom: Christiane Northrup
Smart Medicine For Menopause: Sandra Cabot
Natural Hormone Replacement: Jonathan Wright
Natural Hormone Replacement Article by Trina M. Seligman