A Woman’s Right to Hormones Is a Tricky Thing

A Woman’s Right to Hormones Is a Tricky Thing

While on a bus a few days ago, I got distracted by a couple talking loudly about their friend. The friend, apparently dealing with early menopause, had decided to begin hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Both questioned the decision. He said the decision to take hormones was unnatural. She said their friend should accept change and let nature do its thing.

While I only heard a short snippet of conversation, the tone was dismissive. Their negative view of the woman’s decision to go on HRT doesn’t surprise me. I witnessed similar conversations during my childhood when a relative decided to do the therapy.

“She’s doing it for vanity.”

“That simply can’t be healthy.”

Back then, I was clueless about HRT and menopause. I hadn’t even gotten my first period. Tiny me was in for a big shock a few years down the line. 

Fast-forward to today: I regularly take hormones to suppress my periods. I avoided hormonal support until it became a choice between taking pills and having a life, or giving up control over my body. My decision is one of pain management and mental health. Do I want to live in excruciating pain? Nah. How about some monthly premenstrual dysphoric disorder? Thanks, but no. 

Hormonal treatments are not for everyone, and that’s OK.

Whether hormones are used to manage endometriosis, an imbalance, or a difficult menopause, the choice is personal. Yet, even though hormonal treatments have come a long way, popular opinions about them haven’t evolved. It reminds me of a doctor who shrugged and told me, “Periods are supposed to hurt.”

I’ve noticed that it tends to bother people when HRT is chosen because of what they perceive as vanity. While approaching menopause, one can experience hair loss, rosacea, weight gain, an increase in body hair, and other aesthetic changes. Are we supposed to happily accept it? If we don’t, are we reluctantly fighting the impossible? 

columnist pic
Jarvis’s thoughts on HRT: It’s not as important as collecting socks. (Photo by Jessie Madrigal)

Among other things, endometriosis has given me a face full of acne. It is difficult to live with and manage, and it affects my confidence, social skills, and mental health.

Am I vain for wanting clearer skin?

In her book “Hormonal,” Eleanor Morgan says, “We reject the notion of putting ‘hormones,’ the word acquiring a certain dirtiness, into our bodies; as if hormones aren’t one of the most important parts of what keeps us alive. Perhaps it is the idea of foreign agents; synthetic versions.”

Many view hormones as something artificial. Opting to go “hormone-free” is fine, even though treatments have come a long way and we now have things such as bioidentical hormones. But why is choosing hormonal therapy so socially charged?

Instead of judging someone’s choice, shouldn’t we be curious as to why they choose to do it? Educate ourselves and find out what it is to be them? If we don’t know, share, or understand the reasons behind a person’s choice, we should refrain from judgment. Because … guess what? That person’s body is not ours.

Have you ever been judged for choosing what goes into your body? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll send you an exhausted yet super sympathetic virtual hug.

***

Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.

My name is Jessie. I am a writer and part-time Yoga instructor living in the south of England. Since being diagnosed with endometriosis, I’m determined to be the boss of my chronic illness. You’ll find me with two sausage dogs curled up on my belly and my duvet nearby, writing about life and whatever my mind thinks up. This is my journey.
×
My name is Jessie. I am a writer and part-time Yoga instructor living in the south of England. Since being diagnosed with endometriosis, I’m determined to be the boss of my chronic illness. You’ll find me with two sausage dogs curled up on my belly and my duvet nearby, writing about life and whatever my mind thinks up. This is my journey.

2 comments

  1. Lori says:

    THANK YOU!
    I had a menopause induced psychosis and HRT saved my life. If I don’t tell my whole story I’m frequently judged. Women are the worst! Doctors gave me every antipsychotic, sleeping pill, antidepressant, anti anxiety med they could throw at me. The whole time all I needed was a teeny estrogen patch on my butt. Cured. I will stay on estrogen until I die even if I’d get double breast cancer. I’m nothing without HRT.
    I’m so glad you posted this and I’m glad your treatment choice works for you as well.
    Ps: I told my doctor when asking for HRT “I’m not trying to look like Cher, I’m trying not to kill my self”

    • No, THANK YOU for making my work so worth it 🙂 This message has made my day. I hate that you’ve suffered so much until getting your HRT, but I am happy that you got where you wanted, and did with YOUR body what you felt was necessary for your own health and happiness. Thanks for your wonderful words, and I LOVE what you told your doctor, so honest and raw. Good on you x

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *