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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.

I'd really appreciate some feedback and advice

(23 Posts)
LaInfantaTortilla Sat 11-Aug-18 17:39:22

I'm 49 and I think I have been peri-M for at least 3 years but the last 6 months have been a living hell and it is getting worse. I have an appointment with a private Meno GP next week who is very good and I am still in 2 minds over whether to start HRT or not. I just don't know what I am doing.

My physical symptoms are night sweats, brain fog, out of body sensations, fatigue and insomnia. My worst symptoms are anxiety (now have to pop propranolol to do things I normally don't think twice about e.g. driving long journeys, going on a plane), low and fluctuating moods (one minute have terrible rage, next in tears and I have horrible black thoughts) and crazy PMS. I did go and see my GP a few months ago and she gave me some gel to use to stop the PMS. It worked at first, but then it made me feel really terrible so stopped. This is our 3 month check up this week.

So I'm still in 2 minds:

Reasons not to:

The increased risks associated with taking it.
Don't want to lose any hair. (just read this on another thread)
I still have very regular periods and don't know where I am in the peri stage. Am I meant to wait till they stop? Should I wait till I have more symptoms?

Reasons to take it:

I am pretty sure that if I do not take HRT then I am going to end up on AD's. My low mood and anxiety is starting to take it's toll on me. I look in the mirror and don't recognise myself as I have no energy or motivation to take care of myself. I have asked myself if I am depressed and I don't think so as I am still capable of having a great laugh and cracking jokes. My mood seems to be cyclical. I started off having "some" bad days but now I think the scales are tipping.

I can't function and it is starting to affect my families daily life. I've got stuff to do.

I am not fully decided yet. I have literally no one to talk to about this (friends shy away from talking about it and look at me like I am a loon) and would appreciate any comments on the above.

QueenoftheNights Sat 11-Aug-18 20:34:23

Most women who are fine on HRT don't bother to post that on forums so what you see here is often a skewed experience. In general, HRT helps hair. Some women are quite sensitive to Norethisterone (in some tablets and patches) which may cause slight hair loss but not all by any means.

HRT is suitable for women in peri with periods. HRT only tops up your hormones so it's not really important where you are in peri (though late peri with periods once in a blue moon and as much as 10 months between them is slightly different.)

What have you got to lose by trying it? You can always stop if it doesn't suit you.
Sounds as if your quality of life is suffering, so don't think about the negatives and other people's experiences- try it for yourself.

LaInfantaTortilla Sun 12-Aug-18 10:33:02

Thank you Queen. I appreciate your comments.

Thelastempressofconstantinople Sun 12-Aug-18 10:51:09

So sorry to hear you are feeling so rotten.
If you look on the menopause matters website, I think you’ll find useful information about the possible risks of hrt (I’m assuming you mean major health risks). It might also be worth looking at Professor Studd’s website.
On hair loss, my experience is that ADs cause significantly more hair loss than hrt does! I had take minoxidil to get my hair back to normal after a couple of months on ADs.
Also of course, if you are weighing up possible side effects and risks, do bear in mind that ADs do have side effects. That is not to say that they cannot be absolute life savers. But it is not a case of hrt having side effects wheareas ADs don’t.
I hope the meno dr helps. That has to be a positive step.

PurpleWithRed Sun 12-Aug-18 10:56:42

If HRT was that dreadful people wouldn't take it. I'm a self-confessed HRT fan - my main menopausal problem was UTIs, so my options were a) celibacy b)infection-antibiotic cycle or c)HRT. HRT has been brilliant for me.

Discuss it with your consultant obviously but as we age we do have to make choices. Your life is currently a misery. Why settle for that?

LaInfantaTortilla Sun 12-Aug-18 10:59:03

I will look on that website lastempress.

One of my other ill informed questions is about timing. My GP mentioned something about not taking HRT after 51? That leaves me 2 years so if I am going to take it, I may as well do it now or never. But then if my periods are regular, doesn't that mean I am not that far along.

It is very confusing. I read that women feel worse when their periods end and take HRT for this. Then I read others that say as soon as their periods ended they felt amazing. Then I read that HRT risks are higher after your periods have ended as anything you put in your body beforehand should have been there anyway. No wonder I am very confused about taking it.

LaInfantaTortilla Sun 12-Aug-18 11:09:56

I don't want to take AD's. About 18 years ago my GP put me on a course of AD's and I took them for a short time and I never want to take them again. This feels very different and I don't think I need them because when I am not feeling hormonal the joy is still very much there.

If I take HRT I know I am going to feel defeated and like I caved. On the other hand if it lifts my mood and reduces my anxiety I will feel like I have been given a new life. Before this happened I was down to goal weight, was running in competitions and was in a really good place. I'd love to get back to that.

JellySlice Sun 12-Aug-18 11:16:01

Twice a week I thank God for science when I change my HRT patch.

It has been a complete and utter life-changer and I will not give it up.
I am 52 and have been on HRT for 9y. GPs have never put a time limit on it.

It improves my meno symptoms about 90%.

I genuinely do not care if it shortens my life. I would rather my children have another ten years of a happy, functioning mother, than twenty years of a dysfunctional harridan.

JellySlice Sun 12-Aug-18 11:18:36

* My GP mentioned something about not taking HRT after 51?*

That sounds wrong to me. 51 is the average age of menopause, so the most likely age that a woman would be taking HRT.

QueenoftheNights Sun 12-Aug-18 11:22:58

My GP mentioned something about not taking HRT after 51?

It's your GP who is ill informed! Sorry but the knowledge of GPs is truly shocking. or rather their LACK of knowledge. There is no time limit on using HRT. I am 63 been on it 11 years from a top UK consultant. The NICE and BMS guidelines say not time limit.

If I take HRT I know I am going to feel defeated and like I caved.

So you'd rather suffer?

Why? Do you feel that about aspirin or ibuprofen if you have a crashing headache? Or about other medicine or vaccinations?

Then I read that HRT risks are higher after your periods have ended as anything you put in your body beforehand should have been there anyway

I think the problem is you have read myths and rumours not scientific facts.

I suggest you read all the positive things about HRT instead- all the female consultants who work with women are on it so they can't all be wrong!

Have a really good read of this site

menopausedoctor.co.uk/

.

Thelastempressofconstantinople Sun 12-Aug-18 21:54:04

Infanta, my aunt took hrt from her early 50s (at which stage it was very basic and innovative) until she was 95. She was forced to drop it when in hospital for a uti. The hospital doctors basically refused to endorse her prescription. Until that point she was mentally fine: within a couple of months of being forced to stop hrt she had lost all her mental acuity.

Obviously, that could well be correlation, not causation - although I’ve always suspected that losing her hrt was disastrous for her, and believe the hospital drs were cruel to deprive her of it. But the main point is, your gp’s comments about giving up at 51 are completely wrong. You are obviously having a rotten time and not being helped by the medical advice s/he is giving. Please rely on the meno specialist, not the gp.

Emerald13 Sun 12-Aug-18 22:23:17

I absolutely agree with you Jelly! It is the first time of my life I am grateful for a drug!
It absolutely helps with all my symptoms and gave my life back!

Emerald13 Sun 12-Aug-18 22:26:03

Nice to hear from you Queen! Your comments make me feel more optimistic and secure about all the fear and myths regarding hrt!
When I started hrt a year ago I was convinced that it was something like poison or heroine...
The forum offers me a huge help! 💐

Emerald13 Sun 12-Aug-18 22:31:36

Thela I think that the docs in the hospital are absolutely responsible for your aunts mental health! I don’t find any logical explanation to stop a 95 years old lady’s medication and to leave her without any medical help! I find it so cruel...

JellySlice Sun 12-Aug-18 22:41:48

* If I take HRT I know I am going to feel defeated and like I caved.*

Please don't feel I'm being judgemental. I do understand because I have felt that way about medication in the past. But what is life for? Are you in a competition? Who with? You've defined losing, but how will you know whether you've won?

Or is life about getting the best out of yourself and enjoying what you have and what you can give?

What will you lose if you try HRT? What might you win?

LaInfantaTortilla Mon 13-Aug-18 10:03:07

OK, thank you for all the comments. I really do appreciate it. I have an appointment on Friday to see my Meno GP and I am going to ask for HRT. The long and short of it is that I can't carry on like this.

I have regular periods. I have never missed one except when pregnant although they do vary in when they arrive, length and how heavy they are. If I am shredding my lining do I still need progesterone? I know that my MenoGP deals in oestrogen pumps mainly as she has already told me this. Is this bio identical hormones?

JellySlice Mon 13-Aug-18 10:22:16

I startedHRT while still having periods. GP recommended oestrogen patches plus Mirena for progesterone and birth control.

QueenoftheNights Mon 13-Aug-18 10:23:30

You still need progesterone is you have regular periods. Lots of women use HRT when they have periods but it's against prescribing rules not to give progesterone too.
The amount of progesterone you produce yourself may not be enough to counteract the added estrogen and even if you have a natural period all the lining may not come away if you are also using estrogen-only HRT.

Oestrogen gel is body-identical HRT. The term 'bio identical' is not being used now by drs. It was a marketing term. The correct term is body-identical.

IncrediblySturdyPyjamas Mon 13-Aug-18 10:28:28

Women didn't often function past their 50s as they didn't have to, they were mainly dead, dying or living a shell of a life with crumbling bones and actually shrinking to death.

So take the HRT, and live your life. It is not caving in, it is singing hallelujah for the drug having been invented and being made available for us; to be able to get to an older age without crippling ourselves.

LaInfantaTortilla Mon 13-Aug-18 11:01:05

OK, so when I go see her on Friday we should be looking at some form of oestrogen gel (perhaps a pump) and some progesterone?

Don't worry, I am going to take it. I just needed a little encouragement. My decision has been made on the fact that right now, for the first time in my life I feel overwhelmed by all the symptoms and I don't know if I can get myself off the ropes without some help. I think the risks to my health and mental health are actually far worse right now than the risks of taking HRT.

QueenoftheNights Mon 13-Aug-18 11:08:28

Gel comes as Oestrogel (sometimes labelled as Oestrodose but exactly the same thing) or Sandrena. That is a sachet and you use one a day. Oestrogel is better because you can alter the amount till you get it right whereas with sachets you'd need to split them IYSWIM.

The risks of HRT are tiny. Funny how people (not you) are happy to take paracetamol when more than 8 in day can kill you!

HRT protects the heart, bones, brain, reduces bowel cancer, may prevent dementia, and may lower risk of diabetes. very long term it may help the growth of an existing breast cancer but there is no proven cause-effect. I don't think you should over-think it- you need quality of life.

LaInfantaTortilla Mon 13-Aug-18 11:10:21

Queenof, you are a star star

JellySlice Mon 13-Aug-18 12:20:46

Personally, I did not get on well with Sandrena. I far prefer patches.

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