Are you looking for natural alternatives to hormone replacement therapy (HRT)? You’re certainly not alone! As a clinical aromatherapist who specialises in women’s hormones, I get LOTS of questions from women who are looking for more natural alternatives to hormone therapy.
The good news is – there ARE some great alternatives!
My hormone story
Every woman has a back story. This is mine…
When I was younger I was a competitive swimmer. I trained twice a day and competed in lots of events. I vividly remember the first day I got my period. I went out and told my mum that I was bleeding. She just handed me a box of tampons and suggested I read the instructions. There was certainly no getting out of swimming training! Not even on my first day as ‘a woman’.
About a year later I was to compete in the national titles and I had calculated that I would have my period during the event. My periods were heavy and caused me to have pretty strong cramps. Not the kind of thing a young girl needs when she is trying to win a national title in backstroke! After speaking to my mum again, off we went to the doctor. And guess what the doctor prescribed? Yep! The Pill.
Messing with my natural hormone balance for years
So, from the time I was 14 I was on a synthetic oestrogen-based contraceptive. Each month I was putting more synthetic hormones into my body. At the same time, I was stopping my body from making progesterone.
Progesterone is a much needed hormone which helps us feel good, have good skin and hair, gives us energy and even more importantly keeps our libido high. It supports us during pregnancy, raises our metabolism and temperature, keeps our moods stable and even protects us against heart disease and certain cancers. Along with oestrogen, it’s a critically important hormone to keep us healthy, happy and balanced in every way.
Most of our progesterone is made when we ovulate, from a little blister that is formed when the egg is released from the ovary. If we’re on a contraceptive that is stopping us from ovulating, then we aren’t making enough progesterone either. Progesterone helps keep our natural oestrogen levels in balance. So without it oestrogen is left unchecked.
What are the signs that you need natural alternatives to hormone replacement therapy?
My body was so out of balance with all the synthetic oestrogen from the Pill. And even my own natural oestrogen left unchecked was causing all sorts of dramas.
If your oestrogen is higher than your progesterone and your hormones are out of balance, you might experience:
- Breast tenderness
- Cyclical migraines or headaches
- Missing a monthly cycle or irregular bleeding
- Heavy bleeding
- Cystic ovaries
- Cold body temperature
- Menstrual cramps
- Weight gain
- Fluid retention
- Night sweats
- Low libido
- Feeling crazy.
Even a history of endometriosis, fibroids, reproductive cancers such as breast and uterine can all be signs of oestrogen dominance. For example, my boss developed oestrogen receptive breast cancer. She had no family history of breast cancer. But she did have a history of using oestrogen-based contraceptives and a truck load of xenoestrogens (chemicals that mimic oestrogen) in her personal care products. She used a lot of fake tan, spray deodorant, hair spray and nail polish.
Fast forward a few years in my own story and I also had trouble getting pregnant. I had stopped my oestrogen based contraceptive and knew it would take a while to fall pregnant but after a year of trying I thought there might be something wrong. I even bought an ovulation kit as a woman at my work had suggested I might be having sex on the wrong days (you can read that funny story here).
My doctor even suggested natural alternatives to hormone therapy
Finally after doing it on the right days and still not getting pregnant I went to see my doctor. This was the first time I heard about how being on a synthetic oestrogen contraceptive for so long may have depleted my progesterone levels leading to fertility issues. She suggested I try a few natural things to boost my progesterone levels, including diet and lifestyle changes which are the same things I now recommend to the women I see.
You have probably seen the photos of my two beautiful daughters on my website or social media feeds so obviously it worked. I swear by using natural ways of balancing hormones not just for fertility but for balancing women’s hormones more generally. There are too many women these days who are convinced they need a pill for what ails them when it could just be their hormones that are out of whack.
It requires a bit more work to take a natural approach to balancing your hormones but it doesn’t come with the side effects either. I am now entering peri-menopause and I’m so glad I have some natural alternatives to hormone therapy in my toolbox to help manage the symptoms. Before I tell you about some of those let’s talk about what throws hormones out of balance so you can start eliminating or reducing some of these from your life.
What throws your hormones out of balance?
1. Synthetic oestrogens
They make the pill and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) from wild yam grown in Mexico and other South American countries. This wild yam is grown by pharmaceutical companies who aren’t worried about growing it organically. They spray lots of nasty chemicals on it to grow lots of it and make the yams grow big. Bigger yams equals more money. That’s why you might find articles on line that say wild yam doesn’t work. It’s because the wild yam most people use is just as toxic as the synthetic hormone replacement therapies.
Pharmaceutical companies take out the diosgenin from the yams to make pregnenalone and then turn this into progesterone similar to our natural progesterone, which is why they cant patent this. So they go a step further and create a synthetic oestrogen which they can patent and make money from.
The hormone system in the normal female body has a majority of progesterone, followed by oestrogen and then testosterone. However, women on the Pill have a dominance of oestrogen, then progesterone and finally testosterone.
This is why I suggest women look into natural alternatives to hormone replacement therapy and even alternatives to synthetic oestrogen contraceptives.
2. Low Cholesterol
Most people have been led to believe that cholesterol is bad. However this isn’t true. Not all cholesterol is bad and without it hormones can’t be made. It would be like trying to make a sponge cake without flour.
So you need to include some good cholesterol in your diet. You can get this from good fats such as coconut, olive oil, seeds and nuts. Or even from oils that are naturally solid and not chemically modified such as coconut, palm and butter. Stay away from margarine.
3. Red Meat, Chicken and Fish
Now, I’m not saying you have to be vegetarian, but it would help if you cut down on these. It is not what you do once in a while that counts, but what you do every day that matters.
We’ve been led to believe through advertising that our chickens are full of hormones. However, in Australia farmers haven’t been allowed to pump hormones into chickens for at least 40 years. In years gone by chickens were given synthetic oestrogens to get them to market by 13 weeks. Even though this practice no longer happens, it is imprinted in their DNA to grow super big and therefore passed on to future generations.
Even our fish are exposed to synthetic hormones. There are high levels of synthetic oestrogen in the water they live in. This happens because of the Xenoestrogens (chemicals that mimic oestrogen) that are in cleaning products, chemicals sprayed on fruit and veggies, skin care products, hair care products and even from the contraceptive pill that women wee out into the toilet on a daily basis. All of this ends up in our waterways and our fish, dolphins and whales live in a sea of synthetic oestrogen.
These are the chemicals with the similar structure to oestrogen that I mentioned before. Endocrine disrupting chemicals, including the petrochemicals found in shampoos, face washes, moisturisers, etc. Along with the plastics we use every day in things like water bottles, food containers, glad wrap, etc. These all contain what are called xenoestrogens or endocrine disrupting chemicals.
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals are found in:
BPA – found in a lot of plastics. Many food cans are lined with BPA –receipts, since thermal paper is often coated with BPA. And avoid plastics marked with a “PC,” for polycarbonate, or recycling label #7.
Dioxin – Limit eating a lot of animal products as they contain dioxin and it affects sperm production.
Atrazine – this is a Herbicide that is sprayed on crops and can end up in the drinking water. Always wash your fruit and veggies, buy organic food and buy a water filter that is able to filter this chemical out.
Phthalates – studies have linked phthalates to hormone changes. Avoid plastic food containers, children’s toys (some phthalates are already banned in kid’s products), and plastic wrap made from PVC, which has the recycling label #3. Some personal care products also contain phthalates, so read the labels and avoid products that simply list added “fragrance,” since this catch-all term sometimes means hidden phthalates.
Perchlorate – Wash your fruit and veggies, buy organic food and buy a water filter that is able to filter this chemical out.
Fire retardants – avoid reupholstering foam furniture; take care when replacing old carpet (the padding underneath may contain PBDEs).
Lead – Crumbling old paint is a major source of lead exposure, so get rid of it carefully. A good water filter can also reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water.
Arsenic – Less well known: Arsenic messes with your hormones! Invest in a good quality water filter for your house.
Mercury – Yep this is another thing which is high in Fish.
Per-fluorinated chemicals (PFCs) – avoid non-stick cookware, water-resistant coatings on clothing, furniture and carpets.
Organophosphate pesticides – causes fertility issues, they are still among the more common pesticides in use today. Buy organic produce or wash your fruits and veggies
Glycol Ethers- these are in cleaning products and cosmetics. Use natural cleaning products and mineral based cosmetics.
Natural Alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy
Women often ask me, “What can I use instead of Hormone Replacement?” The first thing I usually suggest when it comes to alternatives to hormone replacement therapy is to take my Hormone Balance Quiz. This will give you an idea if you have a hormone imbalance and which hormones might be out of balance.
Next, I suggest ditching the xenoestrogens I mentioned above. You can’t increase your body’s own natural hormones if it’s swamped with synthetic ones. I buy all my cosmetics, make up, hair care and cleaning products from Young Living, as I know they don’t have any xenoestrogens in their products.
Start taking natural supplements that will help create an environment where your body can start making its own natural hormones. Some of the supplements I suggest for women include:
Alkalime – AlkaLime™ is a natural way to safely balance the body’s pH level and regulate acid in the digestive system. It contains essential oils and minerals to help counteract over-consumption of processed foods.
Why is this important?
The body’s pH range is from 0-14 with 0 the most acid and 14 most alkaline. Normally our internal environment should sit at a neutral balance around 7.4. That balance is highly sensitive to lifestyle and food choices: i.e. stress, alcohol, red meat, excess exercise and sugar will tip you much more to the acidic end of the spectrum.
An acidic environment can wreak havoc in many aspects of our existence producing symptoms of pain and inflammation, tendency to weight gain or loss, yeast overgrowth, cancer and hormonal irregularities. The proliferation of yeast, bacteria, fungi and viruses in an acidic environment leads to an interference in the enzyme and coenzyme activity involved in hormonal balance.
Sulfurzyme – contains a unique blend of Ningxia wolfberry fruit powder, Copaiba essential oil and MSM, a dietary sulfur that improves hair health, promotes nail strength, relieves symptoms of mild osteoarthritis and reduces mild joint inflammation, aches and pains.
Mineral Essence™ is a balanced, full-spectrum ionic mineral complex enhanced with essential oils. Ionic minerals are the most fully and quickly absorbed form of minerals available. Like cholesterol we need minerals to make hormones.
Essential Oils are great natural alternatives to so many synthetic chemicals around the house that may be causing hormone imbalance.
Clary Sage Wellness Essential Oil is a great essential oil for women.
Traditionally used in Aromatherapy:
- To promote menstrual flow;
- To relieve menstrual cramps and pain;
- To relieve fatigue and feelings of weakness;
- As an antispasmodic;
- To decrease excessive sweating;
- To maintain a healthy appetite;
- To reduce flatulence;
- To help reduce symptoms and occurrence of indigestion;
Progessence Phyto Plus™ features some of our most-loved essential oils, including Sacred Frankincense and Peppermint oil, to create an essential oil blend that perfectly pampers you. Formulated specifically for women, and ideal for women over 30, Young Living’s Progessence Phyto Plus is a great addition to your day or night-time routine.
Wild yam extract and vitamin E support your skin in looking its best, while Frankincense smooths the look of fine lines. Keep your skin looking as young as you feel and add a few drops to your moisturiser or massage it directly onto your skin.
As Progessence Phyto Plus can make some women sleepy it is best used before bed (however I use it personally in the morning and don’t have a problem). Start by using 2-4 drops on one of your inner forearms and rub your arms together. If you don’t like the smell you can use it on your lower belly or the outside of your ankles below your ankle bone. You can increase the drops every week until you begin to notice improvements.
Learn more about Natural Alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy in my Happy Healthy Hormone online workshop.
Grab any of the Young Living Starter Bundles including the Healthy Home Starter Bundle or even Customise your Enrolment Order with your choice of products over 100pv and if you pop in my member number (1162233) as your enroller and sponsor and I will gift you a free consultation where I will talk you through your Hormone Balance Quiz and create a 3 month wellness plan with natural alternatives specifically suited to your needs. I usually charge $75 for this but you will receive this for free as a member of our oily community.
Need help knowing what to order – email me to make a time for a consultation. If you decide to order products from me I will deduct the price of the consultation off the product price.
You don’t have to put up with it
Despite what others will tell you, you don’t have to surrender to your annoying or even debilitating symptoms ! Don’t put up with fatigue, mood swings, weight gain, bloating, anxiety, hot flushes or poor sleep!
Instead you can bust through them naturally. There are natural alternatives to hormone replacement therapy.
The truth is….perimenopause and menopause can feel great!