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What is the difference between perimenopause and the menopause? How do you avoid weight gain? Does the menopause magnet work? And ye gods, tell us how to get a good night's sleep! Luckily Gransnet has put together the most useful tips for navigating those muddy menopausal waters. Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns do consult your GP.

Products that work?

(96 Posts)
midlifer45 Sun 23-Apr-17 18:50:21

Hello, I find myself quite confused by the range of products available to help with menopause symptoms. i've gone into it a bit early at about 43, don't want to do HRT but of course the symptoms are raging. I would love to hear about supplements anyone here might have tried that have helped especially with vaginal dryness and the feeling of bloatedness. Also, hot flushes and mood swings. Many thanks

PollyPerky Sun 23-Apr-17 19:38:21

You should see your GP. You are young (under 45) and the advised treatment is HRT. This is to protect your bones and heart 10, 20 and more years ahead. There is no risk with HRT for women under 52 (age of average menopause.) Or put that another way- the risks don't apply.
It's your choice - but make sure you know the risks of not using HRT!

midlifer45 Sun 23-Apr-17 19:42:28

Many thanks Pollyperky, good advice. yes, I should familiarise myself with the risks of not using HRT before jumping to manage the symptoms naturally

Mary34 Fri 28-Apr-17 18:52:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ontopofthesunset Fri 28-Apr-17 19:03:41

Nothing worked for me but HRT.

Mary34 Sat 29-Apr-17 00:37:53

Well whatever works for you Ontopofthesunset. We all do what we have to, to cope and carry on as normal a life as possible. I may end up on HRT but I didn't respond well to hormones from minipill, Mirena etc in the past (mood changes plus other symptoms) so hoping to avoid. If I have to go on it I will as not in full menopause yet. It seems to me very much trial and error with HRT too (from the chat I've read) to get the balance of the hormones right. Midlifer 45 forgot to say have you tried a lubricant for vag dryness? I think you can use some of the hormonal creams too to stop it being dry ask your GP. Not sure about the bloating I get it sometimes too and not sure what causes it, mint maybe? Good diet,avoid sugar? I can't believe the amount of symptoms associated with Menopause, our bodies go haywire!

PollyPerky Sat 29-Apr-17 07:32:10

I think the important things to bear in mind are that changes in diet and lifestyle are essential in mid life anyway but also herbs and supplements carry side effects as well as prescribed meds.
You can do an awful lot with diet - salmon and sardines 3x a week will give you Omega 3, food containing magnesium help sleep and muscle relaxation, pulses such as lentils and seeds like flax and linseeds all help. There isn't any need to buy supplements if you eat the foods themselves.

The thing about HRT is that it's not just for flushes and sweating, it helps so many other parts of the body which can deteriorate with loss of oestrogen- bones, heart, bladder, joints, skin. That's why long term use for some of us is the best thing depending on our medical history and risks from oestrogen deficiency.
The level of hormones in HRT is lower compared to the pill - the pill and Mirena contain artificial hormones, whereas 90% of available HRT is 'natural ' and identical to what we produce ourselves.

midlifer45 Sun 30-Apr-17 23:03:18

Mary34 - thank you for taking the time to share in detail what works for you. I am looking up each of those products and seeing where to order the ones I will pick. Is there one online place you can order from.
I have been doing a lot of reading up on natural supplements and "stuff that helps" and think I am going to give it a good shot. I am paranoid about HRT, probably shouldn't be given I went into menopause a few years earlier than expected (to your point Pollyperky).
Vag Dryness i a BIG problem for me, unfortunately. i would rather stare at a wall than have intercourse sad, not a scenario DH is happy with. Have now honed in on a vaginal cream that contains Oestriol to fix what is clearly a problem. Once I feel better, i am supposed to go onto non hormonal lubricants. Lets see how that one goes.
But thanks again and I hope I can handle the mid life changes well naturally.

AlternativeTentacle Sun 30-Apr-17 23:06:20

Why are you paranoid about HRT? It is life changing.

CoteDAzur Sun 30-Apr-17 23:10:10

When the time comes, I think I'd rather take HRT than Mary's thousand-pill regime of dubious supplements shock

PollyPerky Mon 01-May-17 08:20:12

midlifer I'm saying this kindly....but instead of being 'paranoid about HRT' (whatever that means) you ought to be paranoid about developing osteoporosis in 10 years' time, or heart disease in 20 years' time.

Seriously.

You are having an early menopause. The risks ( tiny as they are) with HRT don't even apply to women using it if they are under 51.

Have now honed in on a vaginal cream that contains Oestriol to fix what is clearly a problem. Once I feel better, i am supposed to go onto non hormonal lubricants

From your GP? Prescription item? Who has told you you will stop using them? Vaginal treatments are for life. Ditching vaginal creams will mean the symptoms come back. Old ladies in their 80s use it. It's harmless.

AlternativeTentacle Mon 01-May-17 10:10:24

midlifer I'm saying this kindly....but instead of being 'paranoid about HRT' (whatever that means) you ought to be paranoid about developing osteoporosis in 10 years' time, or heart disease in 20 years' time.

100%

I had an early menopause, it started at 40. I went to the doctor at 42 and she told me to go away. My life got steadily worse until last summer, when I could barely walk up the stairs at the end of the day [at 49] to find out that my readings [the ones that signify you are in menopause] were through the roof. I now also have osteoporosis.

I always said I would never touch HRT with a bargepole. But I was begging for it last summer. I am furious that the doctor could have helped me 7 years ago but didn't.

midlifer45 Mon 01-May-17 10:33:52

Gosh, awfully sorry to hear that Alternative Tentacle. I, on the other hand, have a GP that has already prescribed HRT and its sitting in my medicine chest. I am the one that is hesitant to take it.
Polly Perky, thank you for the plain and kind speaking. Okay, I get it.....I am perhaps looking at HRT from the perspective of a regular menopuase. Mine is clearly early and if I live for another 20-30 years, hopefully - then perhaps asking for trouble by not getting some help now.

PollyPerky Mon 01-May-17 10:52:45

You will most likely live till your mid-80s or early 90s. (Life expectancy for women now is at least mid 80s!) You don't want to spend 40 years suffering and being disabled through osteoporosis. Did you know that 1:3 women over 50 has it and it kills more women than breast cancer? Sobering stats.

Ontopofthesunset Mon 01-May-17 23:16:24

Mine sat in my bedside drawer for about a year while I read all the pros and cons. I had an on-the-cusp-of-early menopause (45) and my mother despite 10 years of HRT has quite severe osteoporosis so I'm mainly taking it for bone and heart health, though it was great at stopping all the other symptoms too. Anyone else eating prunes for bone density?

PollyPerky Tue 02-May-17 08:20:35

I've read about prunes. It said you have to eat a lot- around 12 a day. Too much for me! have slight IBS and never off the loo if eat that many prunes.
Sorry to hear about your mum. I guess either her bone density was very low when she started HRT and it helped to stop it getting worse for a while. Or she lost a lot of bone as soon as she stopped.
Are you doing exercise as well? Hope you have had a baseline DEXA scan- and keep having them every 2-3 years to see what's going on.

Ontopofthesunset Tue 02-May-17 08:37:34

Apparently 50g of prunes will do!

Mary34 Thu 22-Mar-18 00:20:54

PollyPerky you literally sound like an advertisement for HRT on a loop. I don’t think anyone should belittle people who choose not to go on it, they may have their own private reasons for not doing so, medical ones or indeed consider the risks too high to take and there are risks. This is their perogative. If they choose to tough it out more power to them or to use alternative medicine and it works fair play them. Who knows who is correct and we may not fully find out until a few years time what are the consequences of feeding hormones into our bodies. Plenty of educated and intelligent women I know do not want to take that risk. As long as we all cope on an individual basis, whichever product (s) we choose that’s all that counts as far as I’m concerned,

Emerald13 Thu 22-Mar-18 06:09:55

Mary 34 you are 51 and not in menopause yet! The midlifer has an early menopause and she has to be fully informed for her health risks and hrt is essential for her and the only treatment! Polly sounds well informed and I don’t agree that the majority of clever and intelligent women don’t take the risk! The opposite! Well informed and career women use hrt for life for sure! smile

CrabappleBiscuit Thu 22-Mar-18 06:17:54

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng23/chapter/Recommendations

mary scaring women into not considering it is bad. I started at about the same age as OP. I wouldn’t have coped without hrt, far rather do that than a whole scutch of supplements. And I eouldnt still be married.

Mary34 Thu 22-Mar-18 08:27:57

I’m not trying to scare anyone at all rather pointing out that HRT is not the only option out there and saying what has worked fir me. I have actually reached Menopause now and as I said before I will certainly go on HRT if I have to . However I consider that as a last resort. I suppose in some respects I am partly taking a form of HRT via the progesterone cream. As for Midlifer I am sure HRT is probably a good option but it is her choice if she wants to try another root first. Not everyone has a bad Menopause. I don’t agree HRT is the only option for Career women but I can see it certainly would help you through. My worry is what the long term cost to women in general will be. I just don’t think there is enough information in the public domain about the Menopause in general, and in lots of respects it’s a taboo subject which is madness. I know some organisations like the police force now have Menopause discussion support groups. I do think the NHS could do a lot more in this respect rather like the support you get in an NCT group when you have a baby.

*This post was edited by MNHQ at the poster's request*

ParisUSM Thu 22-Mar-18 09:21:24

I doubt if the majority of any type of women take HRT for life! I certainly wouldn't be keen to be having periods for a lifetime as many will.

I agree that there is a lot of research needed to understand menopause - seems far too simplistic to expect estrogen decline to be all that's going on. This is especially the case in peri when estrogen levels spike all over the place and don't decline until closer to FMP. I suspect that many forums which are supposedly to support women are part financed by pharmaceutical compainies who of course want us to be on meds. If we're on meds for life, even better!

also agree that it's a taboo subject and even now many articles simply talk about hot flushes as if that's all that happens, and talk of HRT as a cure all.

We're all just trying to find the best paths for ourselves, so threads like this on products other than HRT that work for women (even well informed ones) is a godsend for those of us who don't want to go down that path

PollyPerky Thu 22-Mar-18 10:34:18

Mary I think you might find it helpful to read the website of menopause GP Dr Louise Newson. Don't know if you use Twitter but she has some great tips and links to research there too.

Yes I am in favour of HRT. So are many many drs, like Dr Newson and the former Chairs of the BMS. So if you take exception to my information- which is simply reiterating what these doctors say, maybe join in discussion with them? in other words, don't shoot the messenger.

FWIW I am actually going to withdraw from this forum. I give it a lot of time- probably too much- sharing what I cover in my professional life and which I actually get paid for doing! But recent personal attacks and posters who want to take pot shots at me for simply posting scientific facts - which come from the experts (doctors) - is something I don't want in my life.

I'm a human with real feelings and I don't need this aggro. Best of luck to everyone.

ParisUSM Thu 22-Mar-18 10:39:04

Oh well, that's a shame you feel that way PP. I haven't seen any aggro at all, just people disagreeing. We're all grown women and there is so much that medical research has not covered. Medical advice changes all the time, I'd never just blindly follow what I was told to. I do trust my GP who knows me and my medical history and we decide on my health choices in partnership.

PollyPerky Thu 22-Mar-18 10:55:51

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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