As women age and go through menopause, estrogen levels diminish. Until recently, women relied on conventional hormone replacement therapy to help combat menopausal and postmenopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and more. While it was once thought that this treatment might benefit women's health, it turns out the reverse is true. The dangers of hormone replacement therapy include an increased risk of blood clots, breast and ovarian cancer, coronary heart disease, and stroke.
Studies show that altering hormone levels through artificial methods can make blood thicker. It's not surprising then that women using traditional hormone replacement therapy experience more blood clots than women who don't use this treatment. Women should also be aware that more blood clots increase chances for deadly conditions like pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis.
Breast and Ovarian Cancer
Hormone replacement therapy boosts levels of reproductive hormones in female bodies that are no longer meant to reproduce. Some experts believe this is one reason HRT has been linked to increased risks for breast cancer. While studies have shown that Asian, Caucasian, and Hispanic women are at higher risk, researchers do not know why, and they continue to study HRT and its effects on breast cancer risks. Although HRT has not been found to cause ovarian cancer, research shows that it stimulates growth of ovarian cancer cells already present.
Coronary Heart Disease
Researchers once assumed hormone replacement therapy would benefit heart health, but they have found the opposite is true. Women using this treatment experience a greater risk for developing coronary heart disease than those who don't use it, and heart disease remains the leading cause of death among women in the United States.
Studies show that HRT does not lower risks for death from cardiovascular issues, but numerous trials have pointed to a connection between hormone replacement therapy and a slight increase in risks for stroke.
Natural Menopause Solutions
In lieu of conventional HRT, women might try bioidentical hormones made in the lab which are derived from plant products like soy and wild yam. Women can also add phytoestrogens to the diet in the form of soy products like tofu, tempeh, miso, and soy sauce. Flax seeds, bean sprouts, and cruciferous vegetables also help balance hormones. Herbs that help alleviate menopausal symptoms include dong quai and black cohosh.