Question 14

Hysterectomy With Ovaries Removed & Natural Remedies


Dear Dr.,

On Feb.7th I had a hysterectomy w/ovaries removed. My dr. is adamant about HRT. I believe this is ingrained in him as opposed to this being a decision based on my individual circumstance.

I have read so much negative literature about HRT that I am not convinced the risks outweigh the benefits.My optimism makes me believe that there has to be a natural remedy. I tried Promensil initially. After 7 days, I had an allergic reaction to it-the itching was very bad. Now, I am trying a product called Remifemin It is only an enzyme with black cohosh extract. I am also taking calcium and a multi-vitamin. Once I recuperate from the hysterectomy, I plan on exercising at least 3-4 times per wk. And, I will watch my diet. Plus, I will get adequate sleep. I am a slender 43 year old. I am cancer-free. I need to shy away from products with soy in them since I am allergic to soy.

What can you recommend? Thank you for your input.

Reply:

Hi,

I think that your Dr feels that if you are without HRT, especially at the young age of 43, that your health, longevity and quality of life will be diminished. Unfortunately, the available responsible research agrees with this. One of the hallmark studies, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in February of 1983, addressed the incidence of death from all causes, in a group of women 40-69 years of age relative to their use of estrogen.

At least in this study those women who had their uterus and both ovaries removed and were without the benefit of HRT, were 8 times more likely to die during the average of 5.6 years the researchers followed them. The bottom line is that women who are without the benefit of HRT, seem to have a diminished life expectancy.

The most natural treatment for a hormonal deficiency, or for that matter any deficiency, is to replace what is missing. The research does not support any any benefit of over-the-counter products in preventing the long-term negative health affects of hormone deficiency. Often, the individual who is selling you products at the health food store has been employed there for less than a month and has no background in nutrition. Their job, is to influence you to buy the products that they have for sale. Most of us want miracles, and are ready to believe.

I would suggest that you carefully review the negative literature that you have read about HRT. I would look closely at who the writer was and insist that their source of information be identified. I would also determine if he/she actually had the expertise to make a reasonable assessment of what they were writing about. I would determine what their frame of reference or agenda might be and whether they are trying to sell you something.

It is important for you to assess the information and research that is available to you and make your own decisions on what you think you should do.

In a relatively short time it will become apparent whether your fall in hormone levels affects your quality of life. Their may be some symptoms and apparent changes in hormonally dependent tissues. If you find them unacceptable you can make further decisions as to how you would like to manage your menopause at that time.

Let me know what and how you do.

Dr N