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The benefits of HRT -on going discussion

(42 Posts)
pinkfrocks Tue 28-Oct-14 12:50:38

I thought I'd start this thread because I seem to reply to lots of posts saying the same thing.
I know that some women don't want HRT and that's a personal choice. On the other hand though it can be fantastic for women who are really suffering and who have tried everything else to no avail.
There is also a lot of mis-information about HRT based on the now-reviewed research done 10 years ago that showed certain risks and these have now been shown to be exaggerated.

HRT usually works really well for hot flushes, night sweats, dry vagina and bladder problems, low bone density, joint pain, memory, moods, and a whole load of other stuff.

There is now a lot of evidence that taken within 10 years of the menopause it reduces heart disease by 50% ( the biggest killer in the UK) and also reduces risk of colon cancer.

I'm not saying it's right for everyone but all I'd say is if you are suffering then make an effort to read all the research out there then make your choice. Websites like www.menopausematters.co.uk and the British Menopause Society have unbiased and expert content that's worth reading.

TheOldWiseOne Tue 28-Oct-14 17:27:54

Thanks for this - you also replied to my post a few days ago.

My doctor is on holiday at the moment so went to see one of his partners today with a view to getting some blood tests etc that my regular doc can look at when I see him in 2 weeks time. I explained the situation to him - aching legs, esp after exercise, aching hips which wake me at night and in the morning, extreme stiffness after sitting for a spell, hot spells and I say "spells" because they last for hours and severe headaches ...he asked me if i was sure it wasn't pain from exercising !!!!!! Really - do they think we are idiots? I know what the symptoms were before I went on HRT and I see that they are the same now - but worse! He even said that leg pains are not a symptom of menopause!

He has arranged to have a variety of blood tests done to look at arthritis, inflammation, bone density etc so at least that is something. He said that my regular doctor is not keen on HRT so that chat is still to come. It feels like an uphill battle. angry

pinkfrocks Tue 28-Oct-14 17:41:54

grrrrrr...some drs, eh?

Legally, I don't think they have a right to refuse medication if they are basing a decision on their own likes and dislikes. There have to be real medical contra-indications for refusing a treatment if a patient wants to try it.

It's really not acceptable for a dr to say they don't believe in some form of treatment if it's not harmful - and every single drug has a side effect.

You might find the risk analysis and the scales on menopause matters worth taking along sometime.
www.menopausematters.co.uk/balance.php

if you click on the ages the scales move up and down - between 50 and 70 the risks either outweigh the benefits or are equal.

And this is based on the OLD stats that have now been proved to be wrong as they exaggerated the risk.

TheOldWiseOne Tue 28-Oct-14 18:43:33

Thanks again. The other thing that this doctor said was that there is no evidence that coming off HRT gradually is better - yet this goes against everything I seem to have read ...

pinkfrocks Tue 28-Oct-14 19:09:35

some people -I understand- have done it both ways but my dr says over 3-6 months .

But- you don't have to come off it ever. I know a woman of almost 75 who is on it- gave it up for 6 months- felt a wreck and is now back on it. she told her dr she'd be happy to have a few years less life than live longer feeling terrible.

TheOldWiseOne Tue 28-Oct-14 19:20:22

Yes I understand that sentiment and only someone who has suffered to that extent will do. The lucky ones who say " Why don't you just try agnus castus" ( as if you are a moron) are lucky to walk away alive grin

pinkfrocks Tue 28-Oct-14 19:37:46

Yes but when -as she was- looking after an older and infirm DH and not being able to sleep herself, it was a no-brainer. No one uses HRT on a whim- it's not like using face cream or something - most women do it because without it life sucks!

mybodymysays0 Tue 28-Oct-14 19:44:45

A whole generation of women have missed out on the very many benefits of HRT. And this is why:-

There was a study done (possibly 10 or so years ago), where it stated that there was a slight increase in breast cancer in some women when they take HRT. (emphasis on the words slight and some).

Anyway, the Press ran with it as they do, in a BIG way and completely exaggerated the risks, which resulted in millions of women being too scared to take it.
Women started deserting HRT in their droves. GPs also jumped on the bandwagon (guided by Health Guidelines) during this time and added to the general hysteria by advising against it. (And even when women had the sense to make up their own minds and give it a go, the doctors would try and whip them off it by the age of 60)

As a result, countless women have decided to battle through the menopause and put up with symptoms such as horrendous sweating, vaginal dryness, lack of libido, mental fog, to name just a few symptoms.

Doctors were also quick to point out that Menopause is a natural thing you know! and all part of aging and we women should put up with it

(interesting to note that impotence in men is also a natural part of ageing but they aren't advised to not take Viagra just in case it increases their chances of a heart attack. hmm

Anyway, now the hysteria is dying down a bit, and women are realizing that the benefits FAR outweigh the risks and we shouldn't have to put up with horrendous symptoms associated with the Menopause. Women are requesting it again.
Some GPs are back on board again, but it is still an ongoing battle to get others to prescribe HRT.
Luckily there are GPs that are keeping up with the latest views.

mybodymysays0 Tue 28-Oct-14 19:50:05

Good topic OP. A few MN members are GP's.

So hopefully they will read this.
Every little helps! To raise new/current awareness.
would be good if the feminists could take this up

mrsdavidbowie Tue 28-Oct-14 19:52:58

I love HRT.
Although not Elleste Conti which gave me a 32 day period. But Elleste duet suits and stops me killing anyone

mybodymysays0 Tue 28-Oct-14 20:00:29

Me too!

My mother suffered Menopausal symptoms till the day she died. They don't tell you that! - that it can last for years! And with some, the symptoms never leave them.

I have no intention of suffering like she did. It's HRT for me.
Within days of starting it, I stopped having hot flushes, stopped being tearful and started sleeping like a baby every night.

and I tried all that natural --crap - Menopace this and Menopace that and Cohosh and various other herbal stuff - that all cost a fortune and NONE OF IT WORKED!

I wish I'd cut out all the natural experimenting and gone on HRT straight away. It's saved my sanity as far as I'm concerned.

pinkfrocks Tue 28-Oct-14 20:07:51

My mum of 87 swears she still has flushes and night sweats. I think one of the greatest disasters is women with dowagers humps from osteoporosis. This is a killer disease- far more women die from complications of hip fractures than breast cancer. And if they don't die they live with disability and poor quality of life often terrified to go out.

There are some women who cannot use HRT for medical reasons and they need support too. But the vast majority of women can if it's something they want to try. I mean, would men want to live another 30 years or more with their balls cut off- and suffer the ill effects of no testosterone?

mybodymysays0 Tue 28-Oct-14 20:17:38

I mean, would men want to live another 30 years or more with their balls cut off-and suffer the ill effects of no testosterone?

I love it Pinkfrocks.

mybodymysays0 Tue 28-Oct-14 20:21:27

In fact I might have that saying printed on a piece of card and laminated for future use.

When I'm 60 (or God forbid sooner) and the GP wants to take me off HRT because it's so evil shock

I can whip the card out to show her. It sums it all up in a nutshell!

MarianneSolong Tue 28-Oct-14 20:27:06

I feel much better off HRT, which I persevered with for several years.

I realise now that it gave me all sorts of side-effects - acid reflux, frequent headaches, unpleasant cramp pains in my feet and legs.

Yes, I am now back with the hot flushes. But for me honestly, I feel these are by far the lesser of two evils.

pinkfrocks Tue 28-Oct-14 20:35:11

LoL @Mybody!

Marianne- did you have oral HRT? Sometimes that gives digestive issues as a side effect whereas topical doesn't.

I get more cramp in my feet but they last for a few seconds only and it's not a major issue.

MarianneSolong Tue 28-Oct-14 21:08:08

I tried a bit of everything to start off with and ended up with the oral stuff. I just think I was somebody who didn't really 'get on' with HRT, though God knows I tried.

Lauren83 Wed 29-Oct-14 19:51:02

Can I join you? I have in my hand a prescription I just collected of Prem Pak, I haven't been given instructions on how to take it do I start on cycle day 1? I'm 31 and have pof

pinkfrocks Wed 29-Oct-14 22:11:22

Hi Lauren
Are there any instructions in the pack?
I think you can start anytime because HRT re-sets your cycle. So you will have an artificial cycle with the HRT overriding your own.
But if unsure ask the pharmacist or your dr.

Lauren83 Wed 29-Oct-14 23:26:42

Thanks for your reply! No it doesn't say when to start just to take x amount then start the second pill after x amount of days,my endocrinologist did a form for my GP to issue them so I never saw my GP for them either I just collected it, pharmacist seemed unsure too and said GP should of said. Can't even get a definite answer online, I'm going to start them thanks, I'm sure it will be like you said and these will take overtime cycle. Thanks again!

DayLillie Thu 30-Oct-14 13:42:29

www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/9503

Any help?

^Take your tablet at the same time each day as this will help to remind you to take your medicine.

You may start your first pack at any convenient time.

However, if you are still having periods you should start on the first day of your next period. If you are transferring from another sequential HRT product, treatment should begin the day following completion of the prior product, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.

The usual dose is one estrogen tablet every day until Day 16. You should then take one estrogen tablet every day plus one norgestrel tablet every day from days 17-28 as marked on the pack. ^

Elliptic5 Thu 30-Oct-14 13:50:24

Just thought I'd mention the Mirena coil used in conjunction with Elleste Solo, this has been a life saver for me and has alleviated all my menopause symptoms and ended my miserably heavy periods.
My mum has osteoporosis and this is one of my concerns as I have been advised I should have the Mirena removed and to stop HRT after 4-5 years.

mybodymysays0 Thu 30-Oct-14 13:57:54

I have been advised I should have the Mirena removed and to stop HRT after 4-5 years.

Elliptic, make sure you really query why they are advising you to stop after 5 years!
A lot of GP's trot out the 'I must advise you to stop' because they are following 'current guidelines'.
If you're not happy, find a GP that isn't scared to use her own judgement instead of following 'guidelines' which aren't always up to date

mybodymysays0 Thu 30-Oct-14 13:59:07

I have friends abroad who are still taking HRT in their 60's (and one is 70 and fit as a fiddle on HRT).

mkmjimmy Thu 30-Oct-14 14:05:10

I'm on Qlaira as HRT - which is supposed to mimic your natural hormonal cycle. Was on PremPack and it didn't agree with me so changed (v depressed just before my 'period') . But even with the PremPak there was an almost immediate difference - the night sweats cut down from every night to one or 2 a month and are much lighter. Mood swings have stopped, awful depressive feeling has gone, stopped feeling dizzy - lost weight! Feel like me again. Oh and libido back. I was talking to nurse at the GPs today and she is taking Menopace which is helping her but I thinks its horses for courses.

But if you are suffering badly - I'd say don't dismiss HRT out of hand unless its actually contraindicated for you - and you've weighed that up. It's changed my life dramatically from age 38/9 when I started to when I started HRT at 43 - massive difference - I can function again.

Also - people who say the menopause is natural - and HRT isn't - I just don't think we were designed as women to live so long and the hormone levels drop massively - so why not do something about it?

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