HRT or Nature’s Way: Weighing the Pros and Cons of HRT vs Natural Remedies.

HRT or Nature’s Way: Weighing the Pros and Cons of HRT vs Natural Remedies.

When it comes to managing the rollercoaster of perimenopause and menopause, lots of us get stuck at the crossroads: Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) or natural remedies? Understanding the benefits and potential risks of each path is essential to making an informed decision that fits with your health goals and lifestyle.

Should You Consider HRT?

HRT has been a welcome relief for many, alleviating the often debilitating symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. It works by replenishing the body with oestrogen, sometimes alongside progestogen, to stabilise hormone levels. For women who’ve had a hysterectomy, oestrogen-only HRT is typically prescribed, whereas combined HRT is for those with an intact uterus to prevent endometrial thickening and potential cancer risks.

The benefits of HRT go way beyond symptom relief. It can lower cardiovascular risks and prevent osteoporosis, and some evidence suggests a potential role in reducing dementia risks. However, it’s not without its controversies, especially concerning the risk of breast cancer and blood clots. Thankfully, advancements such as body-identical HRT, which mimics our natural hormones, have been shown to carry lower risks.

But What About Natural Remedies?

If HRT isn’t for you, there is still a wide range of natural alternatives. The key lies in holistic self-care—prioritising sleep, managing stress, and optimising nutrition. Exercise, too, plays a critical role, not just for mental well-being but also for maintaining bone density and muscle mass, which are crucial during this phase of life.

One of the stand-out natural solutions comes in herbal form, which offers symptom relief by gently nudging your body’s processes in a healthier direction. Unlike HRT, they don’t introduce hormones but rather support your body’s natural ability to balance them. The effectiveness of herbs like Sage for cognitive health or Mexican Wild Yam for bone density is backed by research, even if it’s a fraction of what’s invested in pharmaceuticals.

Choosing a Practitioner for Natural Therapies

If you opt for natural therapies, choosing the right practitioner is crucial. They should be well-trained, insured, and preferably a member of a recognised governing body. Personal testimonials and a commitment to ongoing learning are good signs of a dedicated professional.

 Hormone Testing: An Essential Tool

Whether you’re considering HRT or natural remedies, hormone testing is invaluable. It helps tailor the treatment—whether you need more oestrogen, less cortisol, or a boost in progesterone. Saliva and urine tests are often preferred over blood tests as they better reflect what’s happening at the tissue level, where hormones have their effect.

 Embracing Self-Care Beyond HRT

Self-care is paramount. It’s about making lifestyle choices that foster good health—whether that’s through diet, exercise, stress management, or sleep hygiene. These measures aren’t just supportive but foundational, with or without HRT.

 A Personal Choice

Whether you choose HRT or natural remedies, the journey through menopause is deeply personal. With informed choices and proactive self-care, it’s possible to navigate this transition with grace and vitality. Always consult with healthcare providers to explore your options and make the best choice for your unique needs. Remember, it’s not just about weathering the storm of menopause but emerging from it stronger and more in tune with your body.

Find more tips on feeling epic throughout your journey and beyond at the Perimenopausal Hub here. You’ll also find chapters dedicated to HRT in our new book “The Aargh to Zen of Perimenopause” including expert insights from doctors and other medical professionals.

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