The Big M: HRT vs natural – homeopathy ‘preferred’ for high breast cancer risk women

Menopause: Experts discuss the benefits of Homeopathy

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It’s common for us to hold the misconception that the menopause happens to much older women and on the other side is a frumpy and lacklustre version of our former selves.

Let’s face it, in the modern day, we are all much younger for our years – 50 is the new 40! And although our reproductive body clocks hold their own time, women want to continue to enjoy healthy, active and confident lives into later age.

There is a huge misconception in society that beauty is linked to youth. For a woman entering into the perimenopause stage of her life, this belief can be deeply upsetting. But rather than it being a time where we lose part of ourselves, many experts are encouraging women to see it as a time of great liberation and empowerment.

Sarah Davison, Natural Menopause Expert, Homeopath and founder of Thrive Homeopathy explains, “A lot of women are socialised and educated unconsciously to attach their identity and value to how beautiful and youthful they are.

“So, you can imagine if your identity is tied up with that, when you see menopause coming, you think it’s the beginning of the end. And not only do we have a [societal] bias toward youth and beauty, by the same token we don’t like the idea of ageing and so I think this makes it extra difficult for women.”

She continues, “Even though our society defines beauty as ‘youthful beauty’, there are other types of beauty.

“And what I feel is really missing in our society is that there is a beauty that comes from the inside as well. When we come to this age as women, what adds to our beauty is the fact that we have all of this life experience, this self-knowledge, which has led to more confidence, we have wisdom and clarity and we’ve had more heart opening experiences. All of this shapes us.”

This sounds more like the attitude we need as we enter into the perimenopause.

And further positive news is there are a growing number of options available to help women alleviate symptoms, so that this change does not negatively affect quality of our lives.

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Most women are familiar with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). It is used to support a woman’s body through the time where, especially during the perimenopause, hormone levels fluctuate.

Dr Shahzadi Harper, Menopause specialist at The Harper Clinic explains, “Progesterone is the first hormone that starts to decline, and that’s why your sleep goes off, anxiety rises, those sorts of symptoms become a bit more prominent. Oestrogen levels start to fluctuate and decline and so HRT acts in a way to give back some of those hormones and to stabilise them and uplift the levels.”

The treatment is very versatile and can be given in many different ways through gels, patches, creams and tablet form. Doctors will work to find a balance on the levels of each of the main hormones, Progesterone, Oestrogen and Testosterone to best support your body at that time.

The main downside of HRT for many women is the heightened risk of developing breast cancer, but for some women the benefits of HRT, far outweigh the risk.

Natural Route

The British Menopause Society recently performed a study that stated that 95% of the women they interviewed would rather avoid taking HRT due to the known links to breast cancer. For those unsure of the traditional pharmaceutical route, there are natural and homeopathic choices.

Sarah Davison, Natural Menopause Expert and Homeopath comments, “@themenopauseroom on Instagram did a poll of 3000 women and 58% said that they would rather do it [the menopause] naturally.”

So, what does ‘doing it naturally’ look like? Sarah continues, “For the women approaching the menopause naturally, I think the biggest mistake that they often make is that they try self-prescribing, because they have in their head, one ill, one pill.

“This is not the case and so it’s important to work with a specialist homeopath or herbalist who will work with your body to find the right mix.”

Homeopathy is a complementary and alternative medicinal approach that considers the attachment between the mind and body in its approach to treating symptoms. This may be a preferred route for women with a high risk of developing breast cancer, or for those wanting to take a more natural approach.

The best route for you may not be the same for the next women. But having these choices all lend towards this being a time of control for women.

Coming next week:

As part of our four-week exploration of the menopause, next week we will talk to beauty brands who are supporting women with modern, attractive products that work hard to support reduced symptoms.

About the Author:

Natalie Elliott hosts The Natural Beauty Radio Show weekly on, is a clean beauty expert and the founder of award-winning beauty brand @wearesakrid.

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