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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.

menopause and HRT

(20 Posts)
nelly59 Tue 26-Aug-08 18:57:52

I havent had periods for about 2 years now and I'm officially in the menopause. My mum has osteoporosis and the doctor has tried to persuade me to have HRT because of this and because of my age (early menopause I'm now 46). Does anyone have any advice on this or am I the only woman who doesn't want to take HRT? The hot flushes are awful but I can put up with that, I just don't like the health risks from taking HRT and also don't want to put on weight.

Madlentileater Tue 26-Aug-08 19:00:39

Not sure. I'm heading this way (have forgottn my last period, but have no other symptoms, apart from vagueness and irritability...don't fancy putting loads of artifial stuff in my system, surely we're designed to have a mp?

Madlentileater Tue 26-Aug-08 19:01:45

Not sure. I'm heading this way (have forgottn my last period, but have no other symptoms, apart from vagueness and irritability...don't fancy putting loads of artifial stuff in my system, surely we're designed to have a mp?

Madlentileater Tue 26-Aug-08 19:02:30

plus I keep forgetting I've done stuff and do it twice.

kdk Tue 26-Aug-08 21:48:39

Have to say that I made the decision to take HRT - albeit at a fairly low level Femiston 2mg (I think).

Was advised to take it by consultant at early menopause clinic because I went through the change early - initially diagnosed as menopausal/perimenopausal at 38 - then fell pregnant - then started getting really bad symptoms when kids were 2 and went back to clinic and started HRT.

I was told that there is an increased risk of osteoporosis due to early menopause and my consultant feels that I should at least take hrt until the age at which most women undergo the change ie about 50.

For me, the benefits have outweighed the disadvantage - ie hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings etc.

There are more natural remedies ie black cohosh, soya etc which may help with some of these.

A couple of websites I found really helpful were the Daisy Network or the Early Menopause site

nelly59 Wed 27-Aug-08 11:18:57

Thanks for the advice everyone. I read on the website recommended by kdk that women with early menopause should have a bone scan but was never offered this even with my high risk. The doctors I have seen only did a blood test, they never examined me or asked me any questions about background, lifestyle etc. One would have prescribed HRT there and then but I left in a hurry. I have been offered no advice or reassurance, and been made to feel that I should take HRT. One doctor even wrote me a letter to say I should take it. What on earth should I do?

kdk Wed 27-Aug-08 12:19:29

I really feel for you but it has to be your decision - I get really angry with the way health issues are reported in the media (and I used to be a journalist myself!) - they report things as facts and create scares based on very small studies.

You could try reading this - might give you a more balanced view of the hrt debate.

re bone scan - I asked and got one so suppose it depends on your health authority/consultant - just try and demand one - would at least give you a baseline on which to base any decision regarding hrt.

hope this helps - and take care

nelly59 Wed 27-Aug-08 14:27:05

Thanks so much kdk, it is very difficult to get balanced information on HRT and there are so many scare stories. My mum was on it for about 2 years but is no longer taking it, just good diet and supplements and never had a broken bone yet. I will definitely take your advice and ask for a bone scan, it is worth a try, and like you said, if I have one I may find it easier to make a decision. I just get the impression that some doctors just want you to agree to take it as it makes their job easier!

nelly59 Wed 27-Aug-08 14:28:50

By the way, kdk, hope you don't mind me asking but did the dose you took give you any weight problems or any other side effects. Thanks nelly

kdk Wed 27-Aug-08 22:23:02

Don't mind you asking at all - I did gain some weight but .. not sure how much of that was due to the menopause itself and fluctuating hormones rather than the HRT per se. Also I was a smoker around then (yeah, I know - boo hiss) and stopped so hard for me to say what was menopause itself, what was HRT and what was pigging out due to stopping smoking.

I also know women who say they gained weight before starting HRT and lost/stopped gaining when they took HRT - so go figure!

girlsnextdoor Wed 03-Sep-08 07:32:30

I know I am replying a bit late, but maybe you will still read this!

I am currently under a specialist for my low bone density- not yet osteoporosis but could be if I don't watch out.

I had a bone scan privately at 49- I have no other risk factors apart from being petite and also a non-dairy eater for several years, due to allergy.

The most recent thinking is that if you have prem. meno- before 45- you should take HRT until you are at least 50- the age of the natural menopause for many women.

The risks are very, very small if you look at your personal risk from taking HRT for afew years.

However, it is NOT now recommended that anyone takes HRT as a first line treatment for osteoprosis. Some women will, if they are happy with the risks, but you have to take it for years- 10 or more- to keep the benefits.

The best way is to have a healthy diet and to do exercise, including strength training, either at home with weights etc or at the gym.

Your first step should be to have a bone scan- even if the NHS won't pay you can hav e one privately for around £100 which I feel is money worth spending. You can then decide what to do.

if your mum had osteo then you are at increased risk along with your prem. meno- so you may well get a screening on the NHS.

I did not have meno until 53+ so it is not entirely true that bones thin after meno- they can start doing so in your 40s.

I'd advise anyone to have a bone scan in their mid 40s, just to see what is going on, especially if you are small- I am 5'3" and very petite, or you have any other risk factors at all, including lack of exercise, smoking, irregular periods etc.

If you spot any changes soon enough, you can do something about it- mainly exercising which can at least stop the rot.

SAM54 Wed 17-Sep-08 19:49:47

Interested in what you were saying here about being in Perimenopause at 38 then falling pregnant. I am 38 in perimenopause and desperately trying to get pregnant! Should I watch out for any signs in particular....? Not had period since March.

Sorry - didn't know where else to post this as I am new to the site.

lostittoday Wed 17-Sep-08 23:26:26

Have you spoken to your doctor about the lack of periods since March and have you had any blood tests done to check your hormone levels.
I am also ttc however it seems unlikely that I will have any more dc'c I have had no periods since April and my fsh when checked in July was 62, I am now under investigation to determine if I am having early menopause, or ovarian failure and I am finding all of this so stressful and depressing.
Have you had blood work done to see where your at with regards to fertility and how long have you been trying and have you been feeling okay otherwise.

kdk Thu 18-Sep-08 18:52:10

Hi Sam54 - I wish I could give you some signs or indications of what to do but I feel that it was just a matter of incredible good luck that I fell pregnant.

I suppose the only thing I can say is don't give up hope.

I was told it was highly unlikely I would conceive naturally and that as I was only one year off the cut off point for my health authority's IVF limit - and that it was unlikely I would be offered a donor egg - I should resign myself to not having children - three months later I was pregnant ...

Get your FSH levels checked, make sure your ovaries are functioning, watch your weight ... maybe read Zita West or some of the other resources about trying to conceive.

hope this helps and wish you lots of luck

SAM54 Thu 18-Sep-08 20:04:44

Oh girls,
like you I am finding this very hard going emotionally. I have consulted GP and Gynie. When my bloods were done in March (5 days before I got a period) my FSH was at 80. I am clinging to the detail that this seemingly raises immediately before a period starts. To be honest I have been scared to go back! My mum went through all this at 34. I had tests for PCOS 4 years ago and was at that point put on the pill, which brought my periods back into sync. Obviously I came off that when DH and I started to try 2 years ago. Gynie were extremely brutal and simply told me that there was nothing they could do and I probably could not carry a child to 12 weeks now due to hormonal imbalance. I have been searching for answers everywhere. My weight increased 18 months ago after surgery as I am slightly less mobile than before, but I am trying to lose weight as I know this does not help. I don't know where to turn and convince myself that other people are going through so much worse. I will look at that website. Thanks

lostittoday Fri 19-Sep-08 09:50:30

You seem to be in a similar situation to me its pants isn,t it, and I am sorry that your having to deal with it also its heartbreaking.
Do you have any dc's already I too have been searching for answers everywhere but I am going to try and lay off a bit as its doing me no favours.
The thing is is that when I last went to the fertility clinic they gave me this course of action where I have had to take 1 months supply of hrt and then when I have finished this months supply I have to wait and see if I get a period, apparently the hrt should switch off my pitutary gland and give the ovaries a rest from the constant hammering off the pitutary gland to spur them into action hence the elevated fsh, apparently this will give the ovaires a rest and then they may start functioning again after this rest, this would then probably mean that everything should be okay and its not menopause if I don,t get a period then it probably is menopause which they can confirm with a laproscopy where they cut the ovaries and check for egg reserve.
I have to be honest I am not convinced by this course of action but I am giving it a go, I have just finsihed my months supply so now I am just waiting to see what happens.
I am also dealing with thyroid problems which is well documented as causing infertility and disrupting the cycle so I feel really confused tbh and a recent appoitnment with an endo didn,t help my emotional state, she told me that I am in menopause and all of my problematic symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, problems sleeping etc were down to menopause and not my thyroid trouble.
I am sorry if I have gone on a bit and your probably bored of me by now but just wanted to say I know how difficult it is.

SAM54 Tue 23-Sep-08 20:20:16

Please don't apologise for anything. It is necessary for us to get it off our chests sometimes. That seems quite positive what your doing just now with the HRT,etc. Let me know how it goes. My body keeps playing tricks with me and my mind constantly dreams of being pregnant. I think, I too will have to try and accept this situation. It is just hard to say - right thats it, not trying anything and go down the HRT route longterm which I believe would make it impossible anyway - is that right?? To me it is like the ending of a longing and dreaming. I know that compared to others I am so lucky as I have my health in other ways and a loving partner. Some days I get upset as having babies is all I have dreamed of since childhood - unfortunately I was not lucky enough to meet DH until later....
Lt me know how it all goes.

lostittoday Tue 23-Sep-08 23:18:38

I know what you mean about dreaming that you are pregnant god I have done that so many times.
I have had my period after a 5 month absence,but to be honest I am not convinced that it means I am okay because as I understand it you can bleed each month on hrt any way, but surely it would be an artificial bleed, so I am unsure as to how this tells them at the fertility clinic that I am not in menopause and my ovaries are working again.
Perhaps they can shed some light on that when I go again the end of October I also now have to have the day 21 progesterone test now I have had a cycle.
I have heard that women can fall pregnant on hrt maybe the hormones help things who knows.

SAM54 Sun 12-Oct-08 17:59:39

Hello Lostittoday
Just wondering how things are going? I have had brown discharge and cramping for about 10 days then it suddenly all stopped again. Don't have a clue what that means.

lostittoday Sun 12-Oct-08 21:16:38

Nothing has changed with me really I have had bloods taken for the day 21 test but I won,t get the results of those until I go to the fertility clinic on the 5th of November.
I am none the wiser at the moment as to whether I am in menopause or not, and I still have no idea as to what is happening with my body.
I'm sorry I am as clueless as you on what the brown dishcharge and cramping could mean I had the brown discharge thing in August while I was going through a 5 months absence on my af but it only lasted two days, it could just be the body attempting to have a af and failing.
I have also had some sharp lower cramping pains in bed at night sort of feel like af type pains but perhaps a little different.
I am still clinging on to the hope that I will manage to fall pregnant and I am still actively ttc.
All of these weird symptoms are cruel though because I keep thinking they could mean I am pregnant.
I am waitng in anticipation to see if I get an af, I am currently on cd 24 if I do get an af then maybe the months supply of hrt has kickstarted my ovaries god my mind is really working overtime on this.
Let me know how it goes for you.

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