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I'm convinced my mum needs to be on HRT but she seems paranoid about the risks

(16 Posts)
harleenquinzel Fri 29-May-15 23:53:29

Hi all,
My DMum is 54. She doesn't use MN or the internet so I am asking this on her behalf. Based on what she has told me, her periods started becoming irregular when she was 51. She is now postmenopausal according to her GP as she hasn't had a period for over 12 months. She is refusing to go on HRT, though I keep telling her she should be on it because of her symptoms. She has frequent hot flushes, doesn't sleep as well as she did pre-meno, feels tired a lot and has dryness down below. Those are the symptoms that she has told me about. I think there may be more because she likes to put a brave face on things. I reckon HRT would zap all of those problems. My mum seems to think she's coping well and HRT wouldn't be worth the risk. Do you think I am overreacting?

WestEast Fri 29-May-15 23:55:16

Her body, her rules.

usualsuspect333 Fri 29-May-15 23:58:25

I think it's up to her.

thornrose Sat 30-May-15 00:00:24

Well I'm late 40's and I have been peri menopausal for a while. I have hot flushes and mood swings but they're manageable.

I'll tell you why I've chosen not to take HRT.

My mum went on HRT straight from the pill to avoid going though menopause. She went on to develop breast cancer. There is no history of breast cancer in our family, not a single case.

That has put me off HRT, rightly or wrongly.

I would encourage your mum to look at ways to address the vaginal dryness as that is something she doesn't have to "put up with". Other than that you may have to respect her choice.

pinkfrocks Sat 30-May-15 07:58:11

Its' great you are trying to help her especially if you live at home and this affects your relationship.
You also seem to have a good relationship because I'm sure I'd not be happy to mention vaginal dryness to a daughter!!

I'd encourage her to read as much about it as possible. Unfortunately many women are still stuck '12 years behind' when the flawed research (now disregarded) gave HRT a bad name.

The risk of breast cancer is tiny and some recent studies show no higher risk at all- in fact the KEEPS research / report shows women on HRT have less illness and live longer.

But- it's up to your mum. Maybe you could print some information off some sites or look up the facts and figures for yourself and print them off for her. Menopause Matters website is a good place to start, and the section on HRT risks& benefits is fairly easy to understand.

pinkfrocks Sat 30-May-15 07:59:16

Oh- one last thing- she can have treatment for the dryness that is local HRT and is not absorbed into the body. Try to encourage her to see her GP.

lljkk Sun 31-May-15 09:24:02

Is she struggling with those symptoms?
Friend who talks about HRT as lifesaver said it helps with anxiety & being able to concentrate properly. Things that impeded her quality of life.

Follyfoot Sun 31-May-15 09:30:00

Its entirely up to her. There are risks associated with HRT and each of us has to weigh those up against the benefits and make our own decision.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sun 31-May-15 09:32:50

Why are you pushing unnecessary medical treatment at your mum? It's not up to you.
I might be biased because I knew someone who had a stroke which was believed to be a result of hrt, and when stuff happens to people we know we tend to overestimate the probability, but personally I think women have good reason to be sceptical about hormone treatment.

Bellaciao Sun 31-May-15 10:59:40

harleenquinzel - It is very thoughtful of you to be concerned about your mum especially as she has told you about her menopausal symptoms, and sounds like you've probably read more about it than she has. Unfortunately if she doesn't use the internet then she will have been fed the Daily Mail style scare stories about HRT ( not saying she reads this!) that pervade the press. If she doesn't want to take HRT because she is coping - that's fine. but if she is worried about the risks - then as pinkfrocks says, the scare stories are outdated. It is equally risky to smoke, be overweight and drink more than the recommended amount of alcohol (which is quite small). if we are unfortunate enough to suffer one of these conditions - eg breast cancer, or stroke, we have no idea what is the cause, and as lljkk says it is about quality of life.

I am sure she would find it helpful to be online in terms of reading other women's stories and support - but that's a different issue! My mum went online last year for the first time with small ipad type notebook, at the age of 86 - but I digress!

As pinkfrocks says - she can get local oestrogen pessaries for the dryness (vaginal atrophy) and this will not go away and can lead to recurrent UTIs and bladder problems on into old age. I posted some links on another thread just now.

pinkfrocks Sun 31-May-15 15:21:17

Just to add a bit to what Bellacioa said.

Your Mum may not appreciate that the risks are very very small.
The latest statements from the British Menopause Society ( chaired by consultant gynaes) say that for women under 60 the benefits of HRT outweigh the risks.

It's best to look at the stats - reliable and recent studies- not those from 12 years ago. Judging something by what happened to friends etc is not giving an accurate picture because we all know smokers who live to 90 but that doesn't mean smoking is safe! Many women are happily overweight and don't realise that raises their risk of all cancers, including 'female' cancers, far more than HRT.

Certain types of HRT- transdermal- are not linked to strokes in the way that tablets are.

Hassled Sun 31-May-15 15:26:31

Why do you think there are more symptoms - what is she putting on a brave face about? I have to say I'm evangelical about HRT - it saved me from a completely miserable period where I was either furious or close to tears, pretty much all of the time - but if she's not experiencing those sort of mood swings then she may well be able to ride out the other symptoms. It's great you're concerned, and certainly find her some current information, but don't push it too much.

senrensareta Sun 31-May-15 16:22:37

I am menopausal, similar age to your mum, but have decided not to go down the HRT route. It has to be an individual decision so you should not be trying to influence her one way or the other

pinkfrocks Sun 31-May-15 16:55:20

But it's not wrong to try to help someone is it- especially if they are basing their decision on outdated information? Many drs have reported how when the WHI and the MW studies came out around 2002, hundreds of 1000s of women gave up their HRT and suffered. Some drs refer to this as 'the lost 10 years' when women have put themselves at risk of health issues and not benefited from the protection that HRT offers against osteoporosis, heart disease and colon cancer- to name but some.

I'd really hope that if my DD knew more about the risks and benefits of any treatment for any condition, she's tell me and I'd at least listen and make an informed decision - just like we try to advise our children when they are young - role reversal!

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sun 31-May-15 17:19:33

Aibu to make sure my mum has up-to-date info? No, not at all .
Aibu to try to get my mum to have hrt? Yes, because she's an adult and it's her choice .

pinkfrocks Sun 31-May-15 18:58:22

Countess- is your Mum considering the same?

I agree with you- that's exactly what I said!

OP Your mum is an adult who can make her own choices. But it's much better surely for that to be an informed choice, not based on rumour and as Bellacioa said, Daily Mail type scare stories.

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