For a reasonably solid half of our lives our bodies do a good job of providing us with the necessary hormones, estrogen and progesterone to function in the world like normal rational human beings. Our ovaries produce these important hormones primarily for child bearing.  When the ovaries no longer produce adequate amounts of the all-important E to the P (as in menopause), Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can be given to supplement the slow down. HRT’s got a bad rap about ten years ago, but advancement in science and updated research has made HRT a sane savior once again. In combination with a healthy fitness routine you can take your life back to center in a calm and orderly manor.

Primarily important in the reproductive process, estrogen and progesterone work together to thicken the lining of the uterus to prepare for the possible implantation of a fertilized egg. Equally important estrogen also influences how our body uses calcium, an important mineral in the building of bones, and helps maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the blood. Progesterone is a critical component in fetus development but it also works side by side in keeping estrogen in balance. Without it estrogen can become toxic.

As menopause nears, the ovaries reduce their production of these hormones causing the infamous hot flashes, night sweats, moodiness and medical conditions such as osteoporosis. Hormone replacement therapy helps to replenish our hormonal balance thus relieving the ugly symptoms of menopause.

A study published in The Journal of Women’s Health showed that the risk of heart disease demonstrated in earlier HRT research may have been related more to the advanced age of the participants as opposed to the HRT itself. The study further found that HRT given to younger women, at the onset of menopause, appeared to instead decrease the risk of heart disease.

Finally, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported on study participants three years after they stopped combination HRT. They found that “many of the health effects of hormones such as increased risk of heart disease are diminished, but overall risks, including risks of stroke, blood clots, and cancer, can remain high and must be monitored.

I am here to tell you that for me HRT was a welcome relief from an unfamiliar and uncomfortable emotional rollercoaster. I’d cry at the bat of an eye and lose my cool for no good reason. I spoke to my doctor and he recommended a low dose combo HRT called Angeliq. It immediately took the edge off. Of course there is no pill replacement for exercise to help subjugate the physical affects of menopause. Over the long term being physically fit is the healthiest answer to combat the dark side of menopause. But it has been reported that in the short term women may reap more benefits than risks associated with not taking HRT. Discuss the risk/benefits and the best HRT combination with your doctor. Also understand that HRT does not prevent heart disease or minimize osteoporosis prevention but it can go a long way to easing you through the challenging days of the dreaded “M” phase of your life.