Even though the idea of grace makes sense, does the experience of grace at times seem inaccessible? Do you find that your sleep is disrupted, that your mood is low, that your energy just isn’t what it used to be? Do you feel overwhelmed by tasks while at the same time lacking energy to accomplish these tasks? Does your brain sometimes feel in a fog, like you just can’t find solutions like you used to? Do you forget where the keys are? Do you crave sweets more than healthier foods?
If our bodies are challenged, then the experience of grace can be elusive. To experience grace most easily, it is helpful to optimize our health.
If you are a woman over 40 experiencing the above symptoms, maybe your hormones are out of balance.
The great news is that when you get your hormones back into balance, you can experience more grace than ever before!
The challenging news is that there are lots of conflicting information about whether or not to take supplemental hormones.
The good news is that more and more evidence shows that millions of women enjoy better sleep, greater energy, better physical and mental health with fewer risks when they take supplemental hormones.
A few years ago, my life was slowly slowing down. In the middle of the night, sweats began to wake me up and a racing mind prevented me from falling back to sleep. I was exhausted and moody. I was forgetful. My brain felt as if in a fog. So this was in menopause!
I had heard that hormones helped women with their symptoms of menopause, so I consulted with my doctor. She warned of the dangers of hormones and reluctantly prescribed Premarin. I went home and read up on Premarin. I learned that Premarin contained estrogens from horses. I also learned that these estrogens are not like the estrogens found in women. I wondered why my doctor would give me estrogen from a horse, I also wondered why she was so concerned about replacing hormones in the first place. I was confused.
To relieve my confusion, I began my research. I looked at peer reviewed scientific studies to learn what the data showed. After wading through a lot of data, the evidence convinced me that estradiol and progesterone were both safe and effective. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that women who took bioidentical hormones lived longer! They had less cancer, fewer heart attacks, and fewer strokes! Also, they had less dementia as they aged!
Even More Grace!
I found another doctor who would prescribe bioidentical hormones. After a few weeks, I began to feel so much better. I am now extremely pleased to report that all the symptoms of menopause have resolved. I feel better than I have felt in years! I’ve even returned to dancing!
As a result of my improved health, I experience grace so much more easily and more often. Instead of feeling exhausted and overwhelmed with commitments that I’m too tired to keep, I feel more energy and more joy. I have more time to appreciate the beauty of life and to recenter myself. My mind is clear and I can see the blessings of my life so much more clearly.
In addition to feeling great right now, I also look forward to better health as I age! More and more long term studies show the benefits of hormone replacement. Thanks to this research, I know that my chances of osteoporosis and broken bones and stroke are way less than it would have been without these hormones. I feel hopeful that I will not experience the bone disintegration of one grandmother or the strokes of my other grandmother. The more I read, the more reassured I become.
Now, I want to share this good news with others. Below is a summary of the benefits of estradiol and progesterone. I then share some tips
Benefits of 17 beta Estradiol + Progesterone Replacement
- Adds years to life and life to years
- Protects against heart disease
- Protects against osteoporosis and bone fractures
- Protects against memory disorders including Alzheimers
- Protects against vaginal dryness and atrophy
- Protects against urinary incontinence
- Protects against breast cancer
- Prevents hot flashes
- Protects against diabetes
- Improves sleep
- Protects against fatigue
- Increases energy
- Protects skin
- Prevents depression and mood swings
- Increases libido
Find a doctor you can talk to, who is familiar with recent peer-reviewed literature (see below.)
“Start low, go slow.” Start with a low dose and gradually increase until you find the benefit. If you take too much, your body will let you know (ie with headaches or painful breasts). Just back off the amount.
Timing, type of hormones, amount of hormone and mode of application route are all essential!
Timing is important. If 10 years have passed since menopause AND if you have not been replacing your hormones, then it is even more critical to apply estrogen through the skin.
Be sure the estrogen is 17 beta estradiol, the kind that women produce. (The most commonly prescribed estrogen Premarin, is from horses, which is not recommended, since horse hormones are different than a woman’s hormones. We are not nags.)
Use progesterone with estradiol, even if you’ve had a hysterectomy. In the past, doctors only prescribed progesterone if you had a hysterectomy. Now, studies have shown that progesterone with estrogen reduces the incidence of breast cancer. Also, progesterone has many benefits, including mental well being. Be sure the progesterone is human progesterone and NOT a progestin, like medroxyprogesterone, which is strongly linked to breast cancer. Apply progesterone cream just before going to bed, since it makes you relaxed and sleepy. You can buy progesterone cream over the counter at grocery stores and pharmacies. I’ve had good experiences with Pro-Gest by Emerita and Source Naturals. Many women know they have too much progesterone because they feel sleepy during the day.
Also, be sure to apply these hormones through the skin with a cream or a patch or vaginally. In other words, the hormones should not be swallowed, since digestion changes the hormone’s structure and function. Estrogen is probably easiest to apply with a patch, which slowly releases estrogen over time.
You may experience pushback from your doctors. Many doctors are afraid of hormones. Because of a My primary doctor would only prescribe Premarin and not 17ß estradiol. My health provider said that endocrinologists in the network were unfamiliar with women’s hormones and that most gynecologists were also unfamiliar with hormone replacement. There was one gynecologist in this giant insurance network who had kept up with current literature. I was happy to talk to her and she was happy to prescribe Climera. She was also grateful to read the peer reviewed literature that I offered.
Links to Primary Literature and Reviews
Here’s data on the benefits of applying hormones to skin versus swallowing: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22011208
Here’s a link to the Yale study that reevaluated the Women’s Health Initiative: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3780684/
Results: “Over a 10-year span, starting in 2002, a minimum of 18,601 and as many as 91,610 postmenopausal women died prematurely because of the avoidance of estrogen therapy.”
Here’s a new study showing that estrogen replacement prevents heart attacks. A March 8, 2017 study of 4200 women reports that those taking estrogen replacement were “Thirty percent less likely to die than those not on hormone.” https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/About-Us/News/News-Releases-2017/Study-Hormone-Replacement-Therapy-May-Help-Improve-Womens-Heart-Health-Overall-Survival.aspx
Here’s a link to a Finnish study that found large benefits for estradiol: “In conclusion, based on the reductions in the relative death risks, Vaginal Estrogen use for up to 10 years is related to a maximum of 24 fewer deaths for Coronary Heart Disease and 18 fewer deaths for stroke in 1000 post-menopausal women.” https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/humrep/dew014
Here’s a link to a Danish Study showing the benefits of 17 Beta estradiol: “After 16 years, 27 on HRT died versus 40 in control died.” http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e6409.
HRT started early in postmenopausal women significantly reduces the risk of the combined endpoint of mortality, myocardial infarction, or heart failure.
Here is a review of estradiol replacement with links to imporant major peer-reviewed studies: