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User's Guide to Natural Hormone Replacement: Learn How Safe Dietary & Herbal Supplements Can Ease Your Midlife Changes.

User's Guide to Natural Hormone Replacement: Learn How Safe Dietary & Herbal Supplements Can Ease Your Midlife Changes.

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User's Guide to Natural Hormone Replacement: Learn How Safe Dietary & Herbal Supplements Can Ease Your Midlife Changes.

102 pagine
1 ora
Jan 1, 2006


With the health risks associated with conventional hormone-replacement therapy, women are searching for safe and effective ways to reduce hot flashes, prevent osteoporosis, and reduce the risk of heart disease during menopause. In this User's Guide, health writer Kathleen Barnes describes a variety of natural and safe options for navigating the biological changes that come with mid-life. She suggests vitamins, herbs, and other supplements that scientific studies have found helpful in easing a natural transition and for lowering the long-term risk of age related diseases.
Jan 1, 2006

Informazioni sull'autore

Kathleen Barnes is a passionate natural health advocate, author, writer and publisher who has devoted nearly 40 years to educating the public about healthy living. She is an unusually versatile writer with experience as a journalist in print, broadcast and online media and as an author, editor and publisher with 20 books to her credit as well as coaching clients through health, career and relationship transformations for more than three decades.

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User's Guide to Natural Hormone Replacement - Kathleen Barnes



Our mothers and grandmothers whispered the words, The Change. We could hear the capital letters. We could hear the dread in their voices. If we watched carefully, we could see the older women exchange knowing nods of sympathy and then quickly change the subject.

Until the past decade or so, menopause and perimenopause were subjects of deep dark mystery. Medical science knew little about The Change that will eventually affect all women. The women of our mothers’ or grandmothers’ era had only the word-of-mouth exchanged over countless cups of tea and chats over the back fence. Only with a generation of Baby Boomers who demand answers and results has menopause become a topic of popular discussion and increasing medical research.

In the mid-1900s, when scientists and the pharmaceutical industry discovered that the urine of all mammals contained estrogen, a new industry was born. Placid pregnant mares were an easy source, and from their urine, hormone replacement drugs were made that remain conventional medicine’s treatment of choice for the symptoms of menopause.

Millions of women found relief from the hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, night sweats, and short-term memory loss that often go hand-in-hand with the approach of menopause. Doctors told women they’d need to take these drugs for a lifetime—and assured them that the estrogen in synthetic hormone replacement would protect them against heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

We now know that this information is 180 degrees from the truth. In 2002, more than fifty years after equine-based hormone replacement therapy (HRT) went on the market, the Women’s Health Initiative, a large clinical study, brought the truth out once and for all. Equine-based HRT combined with synthetic progesterone offered no protection at all from those dread diseases. In fact, it actually increased the risk of heart attack by 27 percent and the risk of stroke by 38 percent. Women taking these drugs more than doubled their risk of blood clots.

If that wasn’t bad enough, later results of the study released in 2004 showed that the drugs also increased the risk of dementia and other neurological illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease by a stunning 105 percent. And the drugs increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 21 percent.

The medical profession was in a dither. Many women stopped taking their equine-based hormone replacement drugs cold-turkey, throwing their bodies into hormone swings that, by comparison, made the early phases of menopausal hot flashes seem like a Sunday School picnic. Sadly, the vast majority of doctors are still basically clueless about natural ways to address menopause. Even more sadly, their patients haven’t had the benefit of gentle and natural ways to approach this natural life transition.

Today, 40 million American women are somewhere in the process of menopause. By 2015, 60 million of us will be in menopause and perimenopause and half of all American women will be at some point in The Change. The sheer weight of those numbers has forced medical science and society in general to re-examine a subject that was once a scientific backwater.

This new knowledge and the new openness about this women’s mystery are welcome. However, we are discovering that our foremothers had many of the answers to the issues of menopause in their herb cabinets. This book is intended to help you understand what’s happening in your body as hormone levels begin to fluctuate, and to give you a menu of natural ways to relieve your symptoms and improve your long-term health and longevity. If you’ve been taking equine-based HRT, you’ll learn how to safely withdraw from the drugs and replace them with harmless, healthy natural alternatives.

So, curl up with a steaming cup of herbal tea, and read away. Your body will thank you!



Perimenopause is the phase between the beginning of hormonal changes and full menopause, which is medically defined as the absence of menstrual periods for twelve months. Technically, perimenopause begins when your ovulation becomes irregular because your ovaries have released just about all the viable eggs with which you were born. It signals an alteration in your body’s natural production of two essential hormones: estrogen and progesterone.

Throughout your life, your pituitary gland sends signals to your ovaries to produce more estrogen. Sometimes, your ovaries respond to the message, and sometimes, as you get older, they don’t. As a result, in perimenopause your estrogen levels fluctuate by the month, by the day, and even by the hour. Fluctuating estrogen and falling progesterone levels can cause a variety of annoying symptoms ranging from the dreaded hot flashes, to butt-of-male-jokes irritability and mood swings, to debilitating hormonal headaches, depression, and joint pain.

Perimenopause The period before menopause, characterized by hormonal fluctuations.

The list of symptoms is long. Each woman’s perimenopause is unique. Some women sail through it with barely noticeable symptoms, while others suffer in the extreme. Most women fall somewhere in the middle, with one or two symptoms becoming particularly bothersome. The most common perimenopausal symptoms are:


Erratic menstrual cycles

Hot flashes

Night sweats



Mood swings

Extraordinarily heavy or light periods

Short-term memory loss

Increased growth of facial hair


Joint pain

Hormonal headaches

Food cravings and weight gain

Vaginal dryness and itching

Loss of hair on the head

Loss of skin elasticity

Loss of interest in sex

While these symptoms are annoying and occasionally cause a serious change in a woman’s quality of life, they are generally not life-threatening. However, the long-term effects of declining hormones can contribute to much more serious health problems, ranging from heart disease to osteoporosis, dental and periodontal changes, urinary incontinence, and hormone-related malignancies, such as breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancers.

The Change before The Change

Perimenopausal symptoms can begin by the time a woman reaches her mid-thirties, although most commonly they begin in the mid to late forties. Just as American girls are reaching puberty at increasingly early ages, women are finding that menopause can begin early, too. Experts theorize that this may be due to high levels of hormones in our food supply, particularly the hormones fed to livestock and consumed in dairy and meat products. The average age for menopause in the United States is fifty

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