The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study identified the potential risks associated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This underscores the need for exploring alternative approaches for managing menopausal symptoms which takes into consideration a woman’s individual constitution and offers a holistic approach to health. The findings from the WHI study indicate that it is imperative to consider safer and more natural options for women’s health during the menopausal transition.
HRT was (and remains) a popular option for managing menopausal symptoms. At one time there was a significant percentage of postmenopausal women taking hormones in the US between the ages of 50 and 74 (Keating,1999). And with baby boomers coming of age, including myself, there is an increasing number of women in the climacteric age group. But think about it. While HRT may be beneficial for managing hot flushes on a limited basis, as reported by Hlatky et al. (2002) and MacLennan (2002), findings from the International Position Paper on Women’s Health and Menopause and other related studies raised concerns about the potential risks associated with HRT. There are doubts about its effectiveness in preventing heart disease, severe depression, urinary incontinence, and osteoporosis-related broken bones, and it has an association with breast cancer.
Consider the uptick in the use of bio-identical hormones at levels suited for a woman in her childbearing years. It was considered a safe alternative because of the natural sourcing of the hormones. Women want to retain their youth and strength, as well as their attractiveness, as long as possible! But even with bio-identical hormones, women are getting breast cancer and some have died after long usage (Suzanne Sommers was a big proponent.) I, myself, have taken synthetic and natural thyroid hormones my entire adult life for treatment resulting from Grave’s disease. I sometimes use estrogen replacement to help me with menopausal symptoms (and it works!) But I am very cautious as to sourcing and preparation of all synthetic and natural hormones because if not carefully monitored they produce unwanted side effects. It’s a choice.
The editorial section of the Journal of the American Medical Association raised concerns about HRT for postmenopausal women, stating that it is not a cause for celebration, as reported by Rexrode and Manson (2002). Women who take HRT for preventing age-related diseases in the absence of hot flushes may experience a decline in physical function, mental health, and energy levels, as reported by Hlatky et al. (2002). Furthermore, the increased risk of lobular breast cancer associated with recent long-term use of HRT, as reported by White (2002), and the contraindication of HRT for women with a history of heart disease, as suggested by Grodstein (2001), highlight the need for safer alternatives. l
Ayurvedic yoga does not carry the potential risks associated with HRT and may provide a safer and more natural option for managing menopausal symptoms, especially for women who may have contraindications for HRT due to risk factors such as a history of heart disease. Ayurvedic yoga takes into consideration a woman’s individual constitution and offers a holistic approach to health, which may address menopausal symptoms in a personalized manner.