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Where did you go to get menopause advice?

(8 Posts)
Draylon Thu 02-Jul-15 08:59:45

I am surprisingly ill-informed! grin

So, dumb questions time, maybe!:

- Are there medical disadvantages of not taking HRT? Beyond not getting relief from night sweats, hot flushes and mood swings?

- Where do people get accurate information about useful 'natural' supplements?

- Does your GP 'manage' it all if you involve them or is it more usual to be referred onto 'an expert'?

- Is it important to get onto HRT, if you choose that route, sooner rather than later?

I have been coping 'OK' up until about 2 months ago when my hot flushes have become ridiculous. this is my 3rd bout of them; the first two were a bit uncomfortable; but this time, I am literally running with sweat, 6-8 times a day and only get a good night's sleep if I've had way too much to drink!

The mood swings haven't been debilitating, yet, maybe? But they're there. I don't sit weeping all the time, thank god, but I am far more emotionally up and down than I was; but I don't know how much of that is menopause; how much dealing with the fallout of my mother's death in Feb; how much due to my NHS workplace putting us under ever more pressure; how much trying to keep a lid on dealing with DS1, 16 and possibly having completely messed up his GCSEs due to attitude and immaturity! But I have a good DH and a much 'easier' DS2, 14; so it's not all 'bad'!

But I am also aware that I am 'coping' with all this stuff via drinking a little more than is good for me, and I also know that I am naturally a coper, but an anxiety wracked one!

So, I guess my question/s boil down to: Where do I begin to investigate what I might do to alleviate my symptoms; whether I should grin and bear it as it's not unbearable. I know many will say 'Go to your GP' but you don't have to read much on this forum to realise that a lot of GPs have very fixed and sometimes outdated ideas re HRT. I'd like to go in, if indeed I do go in, better informed!

I'm 52 with a BMI of 26, by the way! My last period was Nov last year, bar one at Easter!

OllyBJolly Thu 02-Jul-15 09:06:51

I'm in the same place really. A well woman clinic would be ideal but my surgery doesn't have one. If I have asked the GP anything the answer has always been vague - so not instilled with confidence.

I don't have any mood swings. I had some horrendously heavy bleeding a few years back and then two annual periods so I do know that's the menopause. The hot flushes are only at night. More worrying is the joint pain (ankles, wrists, knees) which I did mention last time at the GP and she thought it was "maybe" menopause related. I've been taking cod liver oil capsules that seem to help.

nigelslaterfan Thu 02-Jul-15 09:21:51

I would like to hear advice on all of this too!

pinkfrocks Thu 02-Jul-15 09:48:34

OP
Just some fact to start with: Drs agree there is a 'window of opportunity' for HRT which is 10 years after the menopause. This means from final period. eg 53-63 to start HRT. After that time the risks increase for a new user.

Using HRT is becoming much more tailored to each woman, and you are unlikely to get this kind of expertise from a GP unless they are interested in menopause. menopause is the poor relation when it comes to health.

You have to find out as much as you can yourself. This means reading everything on the web- research papers are available via google, info on websites like the British Menopause Society, the International Menopause Society and Menopause Matters. There are also a few good books .
There has been research on complementary treatments and this is available via google - research papers.

HRT is not prescribed to prevent illnesses like heart disease and CVD, but all the recent research shows that it does lower women's risks if started early . it's all about your personal risk: if you are someone who has CVD in your family history then take that into account. If you have low bone density or osteoporosis in the family, take that into account.

Menopause has stages so the flushes etc that come first are one thing, but later on you might get vaginal atrophy, bladder problems, a weak pelvic floor, joint problems, - these can be helped sometimes with HRT.

Where to find help? If you can afford it, a consultant gynae who specialises in menopause. Or a menopause clinic (NHS), or just learn as much as you can and work with a sympathetic GP who is happy to allow you to call the shots over what you want to try.

Many GPs are a bit behind the times. The risks of HRT exist but the consensus is that up to 60, the benefits outweigh the risks.
Being overweight and drinking alcohol regularly both increase the risk of breast cancer more than HRT. Have a look at the Menopause Matters website under HRT risks etc for a graph showing all of this.

nigelslaterfan Thu 02-Jul-15 10:10:06

thanks brilliant advice. those websites are excellent.

PeruvianFoodLover Thu 02-Jul-15 10:13:35

I went to my GP/well woman clinic.

She referred me to the Menopause Matters website - even wrote down the link for me.

I was hoping for something a bit more personal - but have concluded that this is one of those things I just have to muddle through on my own!

Mimigolightly Thu 02-Jul-15 10:15:01

I actually came on here to get advice! There are some fantastic people on this forum who are very knowledgable.
I sat and cried when I found posts from other women who'd gone through what I had at the age of 41 - it made me realise that I was not alone and not losing my mind.

pinkfrocks Thu 02-Jul-15 10:18:16

If you go to medical websites like the IMS and the BMS look for 'consensus statements'. Like this one

IMS

A word of caution about NHS menopause clinics. They are staffed by NHS consultants and nurses. Nothing wrong with this, but on other forums I have heard of women being treated- or more often refused treatment- and given 'advice' which is completely different compared to some meno consultants who work privately and are not constrained by NHS guidelines. Hopefully the new NICE guidelines will mean more drs are up to date with menopause.

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