Unexpected Reasons you need Hormone Therapy to feel Great

Jun 14, 2023


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Disclaimer- The contents of this guide are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the recommendations, suggestions, or written information provided is intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional. The information presented is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease but rather as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Jill Chmielewski, RN, BSN. You are encouraged to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional of your choosing.
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What's the big deal about Hormone Replacement Therapy?


There have been a lot of myths out there surrounding Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy due to a study from 2002 called the "Women's Health Initiative. It's taken a few decades to unravel the damage done by this study and its impact on women's health, and it's time you learned the newer information and how your health can benefit when you add this therapy to your health routine.


The Women's Health Initiative study was skewed and has proven to give false information concerning Hormone Replacement Therapy, or HRT. 

First, I want to address why Hormone Replacement Therapy is a valid consideration for a woman's natural lifecycle. While menopause is a natural part of aging, it is essential to remember that women live longer now. The average life expectancy just over 100 years ago for a woman in the U.S. was just 50 years of age. Since the average age of menopause is 51, many women never lived through this season of their lives. They never suffered the consequences of hormone deficiency. Now the average life expectancy of women in the U.S. is 78 years. This means a woman could live 30-40 years in a hormone-deficient state!


Hormones affect every body cell and give you many incredible benefits beyond pregnancy. Without hormones, our bodies suffer. And now we know very few circumstances exist where the risks associated with Hormone Replacement Therapy outweigh the benefits. I've talked to many of you and know you resist Hormone Replacement Therapy because you feel it is unnatural. Yet at the same time, you have no problem with taking birth control to prevent pregnancy, antibiotics, hypertension medication, statins, or anti-inflammatories. Many of those medications are synthetic and come with a whole host of side effects. 


Replacing lost hormones with bio-identical hormones is a more natural wellness and disease prevention approach. Hormone Replacement Therapy aims to get the risk of side effects and disease as close to zero as possible, but that will require you to work with a skilled practitioner. Your journey to optimal health requires much more attention than other less effective paths. You need to pay close attention to your symptoms, stay on track with hormone testing and follow-up testing, and consistently make food & lifestyle decisions to support optimal hormone balance. 


A healthy body can't replace declining hormones, but taking bio-identical hormones will help reduce menopausal symptoms and provide a whole host of other protective benefits, like the top three causes of health issues and death in menopausal and postmenopausal women. 

  • Cognitive decline
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Osteoporosis 

No medication, hormone supplement product, or treatment in the world will provide a long-term fix for your symptoms if you're unwilling to make food and lifestyle decisions that support a healthy body. 



So what about estrogen and breast cancer? 

For more in-depth information, refer to the podcast and this article.



While the Women's Health Initiative's objectives were noble, subsequent media coverage, news, disinformation, and medical community misinterpretation of the study's findings planted anxieties and suspicions about hormone replacement that have persisted to this day. There is a lack of informed doctors, so when you talk to your traditional gynecologist, they might not be aware of new information. It's essential to find a practitioner specializing in Hormone Replacement Therapy, like a functional or integrative practitioner. And then, you will have the decision to make whether you will be using synthetic or bio-identical hormones. When you see a well-informed practitioner, they will lead you down hopefully the right path and help you make the best choices for your hormone therapy. 



I will give you some information about the two choices you can make. 

Let's differentiate between synthetic hormone replacement and bio-identical Hormone replacement. 

Bioidentical hormones are the exact molecular structure of the hormones made in our body. They are made from hormones found in plants. Estrogen comes from soybeans, and progesterone is extracted from the tubers of wild yams. It's fascinating to think that plants contain the same hormones made in the human body. Because bio-identical hormones look and act just like our hormones, they confer the same benefits that our hormones provide. Bio-identical hormones fit into our hormone receptors exactly like our hormones, and our bodies know how to break these hormones down or metabolize them, unlike synthetic or non-bioidentical hormones. It's important to note that we won't get those same benefits from eating soy or wild yams. While bio-identical hormones come from plants, they are synthesized in a lab. Non-bio-identical or synthetic hormone replacement therapy does not come from a plant. They are not the exact molecular structure of the hormones made in our body, so they don't look or behave like those made in our body. The most common synthetic estrogen replacement product on the market is Premarin. This synthetic hormone comes from pregnant horses. Synthetic or non-bio-identical progestin are chemicals found in the hormonal IUD Depo Provera, synthetic HRT products and Oral contraceptives. Progestins are non-bioidentical progesterone, and they're not the same as progesterone made in our body.


Traditional hormone replacement therapy can be a temporary fix to address menopausal hot flashes and night sweats. But that's short-sighted. After menopause, women are at significant risk for the Big Three: cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and cognitive decline. Hormones in optimal amounts are critical in preventing these age-related illnesses and protecting against metabolic diseases like Type two diabetes, insulin resistance, weight gain, obesity, joint pain issues, and more. Hormones provide a host of other benefits to the body as well. Since hormone receptors are found in cells throughout the body, a loss of hormones has devastating consequences. The best defense against disease in decline is a good offense. Using bioidentical hormone replacement is an essential consideration for your long-term health strategy. 


HRT provides a tremendous number of benefits, including protection against neurocognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, and osteopenia. It can give you better and more sound sleep, protection against vaginal dryness, pain, and urinary incontinence, protection against autoimmune diseases, protection against blood sugar issues, and the resolution of hot flashes, night sweats, and diminished libido. Getting optimized and seeing results can take three to six months, so you do need to be patient with the process. 



If you're in your 40s, you are in perimenopause unless you've had a surgical hysterectomy. Even if you don't have any symptoms, this stage is just like puberty. Puberty happens, and perimenopause happens. And this is the season when you're still cycling and not a candidate for estrogen. 


You can only be a candidate for estrogen when you no longer have a cycle. But what you can be a candidate for, which can be a game changer, would be progesterone. 


Progesterone is your feel-good hormone. Most women start to experience a decline in progesterone in their late 30s. Believe it or not, you may not feel anything, but that's when it usually happens. Progesterone will decline naturally. During this perimenopause season, we always want to address the food and lifestyle pieces that support ovulation and then consider progesterone hormone replacement. We have progesterone receptors all over our body. So using a progesterone replacement when it is low will provide many incredible benefits to the body. Oral progesterone is metabolized mainly in the liver but also the brain. Allopregnanolone is one of the progesterone metabolites made in the brain. It acts like a natural valium for most women working on the brain's GABA receptors, our calming neurotransmitters. The result is that we are calm, we are relaxed. We are more sedate. And some of the other benefit of progesterone is that it's good for our brain. It protects our breasts and our bones. It's anti-inflammatory. It works as a natural diuretic, and it's helpful for our moods. Who doesn't need that?


Progesterone is a game-changer when it comes to sleep. It can help with anxiety and hot flashes. It can stabilize the uterine lining and offer protection. It protects against breast cancer. It provides neuroprotective effects, including better memory, and in fact, it may help treat neurodegenerative conditions such as traumatic brain injury and stroke. So there are a lot of benefits to progesterone. 


When we move into menopause, and you have not had a cycle for a year, that's technically menopause; you are a candidate for Hormone Replacement Therapy. You want to have estrogen along with progesterone. If you still have a uterus, you do not want to take estrogen alone; you must have progesterone to balance the estrogen. There's also a decline in midlife in testosterone, and some women will need to be on estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. In menopause, all those hormones begin to decline. This decline causes low libido, low energy levels, hot flashes, and night sweats. Taking BioIdentical Hormone Replacement Therapy can help with all that and protect your heart, brain, and bones. 


So remember, in perimenopause, estrogen is not needed, but progesterone can be very, very helpful, and even testosterone if your testosterone is low. 


In menopause, you can start taking estrogen and progesterone unless you've had a hysterectomy. If you've had a hysterectomy, you can handle straight estrogen. 


Most important is to get optimized. Not just in normal ranges, but you want to get optimized. And that's why working with a skilled and knowledgeable practitioner is essential. 


Testing and tracking symptoms are the best ways to achieve optimization. Both of those are key. Track any symptoms or cycles you experience and talk with your doctor. These notes can paint a beneficial picture of what's going on in your body. Testing and looking at symptoms can optimize your hormones, and you can start feeling incredible, sleeping better, and having more energy and less brain fog. Most of all, you can have that protection. 


It is a journey; you don't go in and get fixed. It's not the way it happens. You have a relationship with your practitioner, and you want to find one that will listen to you and your symptoms. If they're not listening to you, and not working with you and telling you, you'll have to grin and bear it or stay in it without treating you, then find another practitioner. It is worth considering hormone replacement therapy. Not everybody is a candidate, but many of you will be. 


It is best to start bio-identical Hormone Therapy earlier than later; if you're in menopause, now's the time to find a practitioner and start talking to them about Hormone Replacement Therapy. If you're in perimenopause, I would ask your practitioner about what you can do to support your body and about getting on progesterone. 


And then, ladies, the main thing we can do besides hormone replacement therapy is treat our bodies well with food, the right foods, the proper exercise, sleep, and stress management. All of those are very important for our midlife hormones. As we age, we become less resilient. Keeping blood sugar balanced by being on the Trim Healthy Mama plan is critical. Blood sugar balance should be number one. Anchor every meal with protein because you need more protein in mid-life.


That's one reason I'm so excited about the Trim Healthy, new, optimized hemp protein powder. Especially for the woman in midlife because it will give you adequate protein; it's 48 grams of protein; we need the extra protein, ladies; I'm working on getting up to 100 plus grams of protein, which is good. And I do that by using the optimized hemp protein. It decreases inflammation, which is something we've got going on as well in midlife. So we anchor our meals with protein. And we stay off white sugar, white flour, and concentrated substances that whack out blood sugar because every time that happens, your body must work hard to bring it back where it needs to be. 


Not only is bioidentical hormone therapy excellent and helpful, but it's also only a piece of the puzzle. Your diet, exercise, and daily movement are all important. These will all contribute to your overall health, help with hormone balance, and contribute to weight loss. 

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