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Do you have to take HRT ????

(36 Posts)
scottswede Sat 31-Jan-15 08:29:14

I am 50, peri-menopausal and wondering if you need to take HRT.
Symptom wise I am not at the extreme end of the spectrum, though maybe it will be worse later on. shock
Has anyone got to the other end without medications?
How much of an impact does taking/not taking meds have later on in life?
Is there any natural help that 'really' works?
As I say I feel I can cope at the moment but I don't want to be storing up problems for later on if I fly solo now.

arlagirl Sat 31-Jan-15 08:30:31

I know lots of people who haven't.
I keeps me sane.

scottswede Sat 31-Jan-15 08:34:17

Does it make a difference to the doctor prescribing whether you are experiencing ok or extreme symptoms? Or the fact you are in peri menopause is enough to prescribe HRT.

happychappy Sat 31-Jan-15 08:37:54

I am 42 and peri menopausal was given the meds for HRT but the horrid symptoms stopped by the time they had decided I needed them so plod along at the moment. I do worry I should be though.

paxtecum Sat 31-Jan-15 08:41:07

Try Arkopharma photo soya supplements and a good vit and mineral supplement formulated for menopausal women.
The phyto soya pills are three packs for the price of two in Boots.

Muskey Sat 31-Jan-15 08:53:34

The symptoms I had which upset me a lot that I kept crying at nothing and really losing my temper over any little thing. I first tried evening primrose which worked for about two years and then when they stopped working my gp put me on a low dose of antidepressants (apparently they are considered helpful in the treatment of menopause). I have been on them since Christmas I can honestly say the rage and tears are gone also the joint pains I was experiencing has also abated somewhat. My gp did say because I am still having periods he didn't want to put me on HRT so I guess it depends on your symptoms. Take care and good luck

pinkfrocks Sat 31-Jan-15 09:00:19

No you don't need to take HRT unless you are having an early menopause ( before 45-ish.) If you are without the normal levels of oestrogen for 10 years or more ( ie menopause at 42 rather than 52) your bones are at a much greater risk of osteoporosis by the time you are 50.

There is some research which shows that taken for a few years within 10 years of the menopause it reduces the risk of heart disease later on - recent publication by the International Menopause Society. But no one is saying yet that all women ought to take it for that reason.

Most women take it if their symptoms are bad enough to affect quality of life. I started on it 6 years ago because I was having hot flushes on the hour 12 times or more a day, and unable to sleep with insomnia. I couldn't cope with work like that.

If you do feel you need to try it, educate yourself about all the different sorts and don't just accept what a possibly inexperienced dr will dish out- most know nothing about meno and hand over the cheapest tablets.

Patches, gel and bio identical progesterone is best- safer and fewer side effects.

pinkfrocks Sat 31-Jan-15 09:03:38

MUskey your experience actually infuriates me. Sorry! These GPs seem to want to medicate women with ADs which have their own side effects, and are totally unnecessary for management of peri menopause. He's talking rot to say you can't have HRT while you still have periods!

You need oestrogen, not ADs. I don't know why GPs do this- is it because they are ill informed and lagging 10 years behind the latest reports on HRT?
I suggest you have a good read of the website and see what options you have.
ADs are usually reserved for women who can't take HRT and need some help- ie if they have had breast cancer etc.

arlagirl Sat 31-Jan-15 11:29:58

Yes I've been on hrt for 6 years and my periods were still occurring when I started.

Poppyflowe Sat 31-Jan-15 11:45:54

I am post meno and didn't take HRT.

But I did clean up my diet massively and take regular weight-bearing exercise.

I found a book called Your Change, Your Choice very helpful.

scottswede Sat 31-Jan-15 12:22:17

Thanks ladies. I am trying to research as much as possible about whats happening to my body and the best way to proceed.
I realize that peri-menopause, menopause, periods, child-birth etc are all things that most women go through endure in their life time but all our experiences are so vastly different.

Lauren83 Sat 31-Jan-15 20:36:13

I was put on HRT (I'm still having periods) but been told I have POF and im on my 4th ivf with donor eggs, I went in prental my endocrinologist put me on it but it didn't agree with me so I came off it. My gp gave me buspirone to help with the anxiety symptoms that came with high FSH and that helped. It's an anti anxiety rather than anti d

Lauren83 Sat 31-Jan-15 20:37:29

Sorry for terrible typo damn phone

'I went on prem pak my endocrinologist put me on it'

lljkk Sat 31-Jan-15 20:40:46

If a woman takes it for 'sanity' reasons (which I completely understand and wouldn't turn my nose up at for myself): what happens when you come off? From what I have read,poor mental health symptoms return but only worse when one comes off HRT.

pinkfrocks Sat 31-Jan-15 21:59:25

Where have you read that?
Mood swings and perhaps depression caused by low oestrogen or erratic hormone balance are not 'mental health' issues.
Mood swings tend to occur with peri meno and may well improve once post meno.
The whole topic of recurring symptoms once HRT stops is another topic!
Some women are fine, others need to adjust over a few months, other women stay on HRT forever. There is no cut-off point or reason to stop if the benefits outweigh risks for individual women.

Poppyflowe Sun 01-Feb-15 06:36:14

Fwiw my PMT mood swings, which I suffered throughout my adult life, have now disappeared completely post-menopause. I have never been happier.

During the menopause I have had insomnia (which I still sometimes get and deal with using a relaxation app), and hot flushes - which have now gone - I used to dress in layers and wrap/unwrap as necessary. I do think following a healthy diet, cutting sugar and exercising including yoga, made a big difference in being able to cope.

I have a busy job and life and a colleague doing the same sort of job went on HRT because the insomnia was too much.

She is childless though and I think the fact I had encountered lack of sleep with young children in the past helped me deal with insomnia this time around, especially as I knew I could catch up the next night.

Muskey Sun 01-Feb-15 10:25:43

I have been following this thread with interest. I didn't want to cause a debate about HRT v ad. I put my experience on this thread to show that there are other things you can take before resorting to HRT. Don't get me wrong I was a bit shock when my gp prescribed ad as I didn't think it was the right solution. However I have been on a very low dose for nearly 2 months and I do feel much better. My insomnia has gone almost, I don't cry at anything which was extremely embarrassing, I don't have extreme rage which at one point I thought I was going to kill my dd (she is just starting puberty so you can imagine my house is like hormone free for all). What I am trying to say is that they worked for me. I don't feel as though I have mental health issues I just believe that my peri menopause symptoms are effecting my emotional well being. I also forgot to mention I have PCOS which might be why my gp prescribed ads rather than hrt. Additionally I did have a look at a number of menopause sites which do mention ad as a possible treatment for menopausal symptoms. What I am trying to say is that menopausal symptoms are so many and varied that you have to try a number of different solutions until you find the right one. If at some point the ads stop working then I will go back to my gp and ask for something else if its HRT then so be it.

pinkfrocks Sun 01-Feb-15 11:34:12

I think it's useful to debate the topic though because many GPs are using ADs because they are somehow averse to HRT based on the old risks which were shown to be based on flawed research.

I suppose the reason I feel it's wrong is that ADs can have side effects especially on withdrawal, and they are not dealing with the root cause - lack of oestrogen- they are medicating one symptom.

There is some useful information here and on other parts of the site.

If it works for you that's fine but I suppose if I were you I'd be quizzing the dr on why he chose ADs and not HRT.

Muskey Sun 01-Feb-15 12:08:39

Pintuck I did question my gp about his reasoning as despite not wanting to go on HRT ( mostly based on the old issues surrounding its prescription) I was prepared for being prescribed it. Yes I think there is a need to debate why GPS prescribe one tablet over another but the op IMO wanted to know about other paths that people had taken not which is the best treatment. Having PCOS most of my adult life has left me dealing with a lack of female hormones and a surplus of male hormones and no one yet has actually tried to sort out that imbalance they have only ever dealt with the symptoms. Maybe that is a failing on my doctors behalf but I have come to accept that is the reality. Perhaps that is my failing. smile

pinkfrocks Sun 01-Feb-15 12:36:11

I appreciate what you are saying and it's a shame that your hormone issues have not been addressed properly over your lifetime.

All I am saying is that there is an increasing concern amongst some consultants that GPs are dishing out ADs rather than HRT and women in their 40s and 50s are being 'medicated' by very strong, mind altering drugs to control anxiety and mood swings. I suspect in time this may be seen as unethical (I keep thinking of the lobotomies on One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest!) and I do wonder if it's because it's 'easier' to prescribe an AD than support a woman through the trial and error of different HRT preparations. There is plenty of evidence that exercise alone on a regular basis is good at treating mild depression and anxiety, and the whole issue of how often ADs ought to be sued across the population has come under scrutiny lately.

ADs do have a place in controlling meno symptoms- mainly hot flushes- but from what I have read, they are reserved for women who can't take HRT for other medical reasons.

LindyHemming Sun 01-Feb-15 12:58:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lljkk Sun 01-Feb-15 13:06:24

Mood swings and perhaps depression caused by low oestrogen or erratic hormone balance are not 'mental health' issues.

Depression is not a mental health problem? Those problems would feck up my mental health.

yeah I read loads of stories of women who had the same and worse problems when they came off of HRT. Particularly mental-emotional-psychological rather than physical problems recurring worse than ever. I dunno if there's actual research reporting what happens to most women when they come off HRT at age 58+. I'd like to know real stats are for severity of return of specific problematic symptoms after dropping HRT.

Moniker1 Sun 01-Feb-15 13:14:54

A ton of information here

FurryDogMother Sun 01-Feb-15 13:37:03

I'm 55 and got through the menopause without medication - although I did go slightly crazy - mood swings, hot flushes, insomnia and a total inability to concentrate. I was lucky enough to have a very flexible part time job at the height of things - I could go in late if I hadn't slept, and the work itself didn't take much thought. I really struggled with tasks that did require thinking, though. I still get the occasional hot flush (which can be rather nice when the weather's cold!) but am mostly symptom-free now - I think it took about 7 years in total to get to this stage and I'm glad to report that my mind is back to how it was before, and I can concentrate again smile

MargoReadbetter Sun 01-Feb-15 13:51:58

ADs are a good alternative for hot flushes. No need to get so angry and generalise when you were not party to the discussion between patient and GP.

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