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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Dr Eki Wari on May 10, 2022

Best Natural Alternatives To Hormone Replacement Therapy

Some evidence shows that hormone replacement therapy may increase the risk of certain cancers. Because of this, many women are turning to natural remedies to ease their menopause symptoms. Check out the best ones to use here.

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Hormone replacement therapy is often used to combat menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood swings, and weight gain.

Your doctor may have told you about synthetic hormones, but the associated risks are concerning for many women. Luckily, it may be possible to get some of the helpful effects from plant-based bioidentical hormones instead.

Bioidentical hormones are hormones that are derived from plants. Research shows that bioidentical hormones may be safer to use than synthetic hormones.

In this article, we’ll explain what hormone replacement therapy is and why some women are choosing to go the natural route.

What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, is made from synthetic female hormones, such as progestin and estradiol. It’s given to women during menopause or who might be experiencing low estrogen and progesterone levels.

There are two types: estrogen therapy (ET) and estrogen-progesterone/progestin therapy (EPT). ET only provides estrogen while EPT provides a combination of estrogen and progestin.

This treatment is available in several forms, including pills, tablets, a skin patch, skin cream, spray, gels, or vaginal insert. By restoring progesterone and estrogen levels, hormone replacement therapy seeks to help reduce menopause symptoms.

Risks and side effects

Despite alleviating menopause symptoms, hormone replacement therapy may come with certain risks and side effects that are concerning for some women.

Studies suggest this is likely due to the use of synthetic hormones that are not naturally occurring in the body. Side effects and risks may include:

In addition to these risks, some women may not respond well to the synthetic form of the hormones, causing them to seek more natural options.

Hormone Replacement Therapy, According To TCM

According to registered Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Physician Lim Sock Ling, “From a TCM point of view, hormone replacement therapy is required due to imbalance in the body. TCM uses remedies such as herbs and acupuncture to restore the yin and yang balance of the body. Some prefer natural hormone therapy as there are little or no side effects compared to synthetic hormones.” 

According to Keith Mitchel, M.D., synthetic forms may incite and increase estrogen-related breast cell mitosis. This cellular division is known as cancer. Synthetic hormones have also been shown to convert endogenous estrogens into stronger variants (16-hydroxyestrone). These stronger, even toxic versions of estrogen can stimulate cancer formation.

TCM Alternatives To Hormone Replacement Therapy

Many bioidentical hormone treatments use Chinese yam, which contains an excellent source of natural estrogen.

Chinese yam is one of the major sources of natural estrogen called phytoestrogen, which is found in bioidentical hormones. 

Physician Lim stated, “Herbs such as Bai Shao, Dang Gui, Zhi Mu, Chai Hu, Huang Qin, and Yin Yang Huo, contain phytoestrogens to help manage hot flushes during menopause.”

“Eclipta Prostrata and Ligustrum Lucidum stimulate natural estrogen effects in the body to support hormonal balance without the adverse side effects that come with synthetic or animal estrogen, continued Physician Lim.” 

A systemic review showed that the most popularly studied formula was Kun Tai capsule and the most frequently prescribed herb was White Peony Root.

TCM may reduce symptoms of hormone replacement therapy

Additionally, if you decide to undergo hormone replacement therapy, TCM can help reduce some of the symptoms you might experience from synthetic hormones.

Physician Lim noted, “TCM can include herbs or acupuncture to manage these symptoms. For example, Nei Guan (PC6) is an effective treatment for nausea and vomiting. It is located 3 finger-widths above the transverse crease of the wrist, in between the 2 tendons of the long palmar muscle and the radial flexor muscle of the wrist. Ginger tea and peppermint tea are also useful in alleviating nausea.” 

Stimulating the PC 6 acupoint may help reduce nausea and vomiting due to menopause or hormone replacement therapy.

How To Use TCM To Support Menopause Symptoms

From a TCM perspective, menopause can be classified into Kidney Yin Deficiency and Kidney Yang Deficiency. Hence, it is crucial for women to nourish their Kidneys. This included eating more black foods, such as black beans, black sesame seeds, black fungus, and black garlic

Kidney Yin Deficient symptoms, such as dry mouth and throat, hot flashes, and dry and itchy skin, can be treated with Liu Wei Di Huang pills. Kidney Yang Deficient symptoms, such as cold limbs, frequent urination, and low spirits, can be treated with You Gui pills. 

“According to one study, women who completed two months of treatment with either TCM or a combination of acupuncture with TCM had better results than those treated with hormone replacement therapy,” stated Physician Lim.

Menoease Pills, which contain a blend of various TCM herbs, may also help restore hormone levels to reduce menopause symptoms. Always be sure to consult with your doctor or a registered TCM physician before taking any natural medicine. Also, do not stop taking hormone replacement therapy unless cleared by your doctor.

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