The recent article in the Lancet “Menopausal hormones: definitive evidence for breast cancer” (1) has scared a lot of women who have been taking HRT for a while and who have felt the benefits.
It made me both angry, and relieved at the same time!
12 years ago, I was “diagnosed” as being pre-menopausal in a regular GP blood test. My GP felt I was too young and that I should start taking HRT in order to avoid osteoporosis. I haven’t had any other symptoms apart from the occasional night sweats. And my mood swings, low energy, weight gain, and problems sleeping could also have been due to having an under-active thyroid.
Back to HRT though, I had at that stage heard that in Germany, GP’s are no longer prescribing HRT unless the woman has serious symptoms, as there is a link to a higher risk of breast cancer. My GP had not heard of those studies and assured me I would be fine. I have since also read many other studies that were not showing a direct link between HRT and breast cancer. However, this latest study that has been done on the biggest number of women, over the longest period of time ever, has found that indeed there is a strong link and that it had previously been underestimated!
Being scared of getting osteoporosis and all those dreaded symptoms such as hot flushes that I heard of, but at the same time not wanting to risk breast cancer, I started doing my research on natural alternatives. Armed with a long list, I went into a health food store. However, the lady in this store (which was not my usual one), just said to me: “Before you do anything, I recommend you read this book: The new natural Alternatives to HRT, by Marilyn Glenville”. And I am forever grateful to this lady. This book has literally shown me that there are indeed alternatives to HRT and these are simply diet and lifestyle!
I eagerly read the book and implemented what I could straight away. Only, a few years later, when I studied Nutritional Therapy myself, was I able to join up the dots. To me, it seems obvious that there must be a connection between HRT, which is an oestrogen replacement and breast cancer, which is a cancer that is driven by oestrogen dominance.
I want to highly stress, that yes, there is a genetic component as well and just eating a healthy diet alone, is not necessarily going to prevent cancer. However, we also do know that obesity, smoking and alcohol can be a contributing factor, so we are advised to cut those out. And HRT is just one extra additional thing that we can cut out.
If you are worried though now that those dreaded symptoms will come back, you should definitely look into alternatives to HRT!
First of all, we need to accept that the menopause is a natural change in our body and that it is not a disease and should not be treated or diagnosed as if it were. Taking HRT and simply postponing the menopause is not a solution that in any way addresses the change that is going on in our bodies!
The menopause is a major change in your body. For years and years, your body was preparing each month for pregnancy with a very intricate play of hormones. And this has stopped now. The changes during menopause are even more profound than those going on in a moody teenager. So, why would anyone expect to be able to just keep going the same way?
However, making small changes do not have to be scary! The benefit you will see is huge and so worth doing! I cleaned up my diet more and more, and I sailed through the menopause. Not only did I hardly experience any symptoms, but my thyroid symptoms actually also went away, and I am now at 55 stronger and fitter and have more energy than 20 years ago. And I am no exception, I have seen it in other women and my clients.
Start small, just cutting out processed food and reducing sugary foods is a good start. This alone will help your liver be able to better detoxify and recycle your hormones so that they won’t end up accumulating in your body. However, it is not just hormonal driven cancers that you might be able to avoid. There is so much evidence (2) out there that your risks of getting any type of cancer is higher. Making small changes in your diet can have a huge impact.
You also reduce your risk of getting osteoporosis if you address your diet and start with weight-bearing exercise.
I also want to stress, that if you are currently taking HRT, do not stop taking it, unless you discuss it with your GP. Eating a healthier diet though is something you can benefit from straight away, while you are still taking HRT. Eating a healthier diet might possibly also reduce your risk of breast cancer even if you decide you still need to take HRT.
I am here to help you on your way. If you are in any way concerned about your alternatives to HRT, please contact me to arrange a call, where I can give you some tips and suggestions on what you can do to sail through the menopause.