HRT being denied to women over 60. What do you think?

(96 Posts)
meyesmyeyes Thu 11-Jun-15 15:09:27

I wondered what people make of the fact that a woman who is benefiting greatly from HRT, ie:

Protection from heart disease
Better distribution of healthy fats
Stronger bones
Increased libido
Better mental health
Better sleep patterns
Improved memory
.....to name a few of the many benefits,

has to give up HRT once she reaches the age of 60. She gets to have the 'talk' from her GP, apparently and they do their best to frighten you off taking them.

But a man of the same age, who is transgendering, is not only offered female hormones, but is apparently, allowed to stay on them indefinitely.

Is this fair to Women?

This is not another transgender 'bashing' thread.
I am genuinely interested, from a fairness (and equality) point of view really.

Surely if a woman is not allowed this treatment after a certain age, and has to accept that she will lose a lot of her womanly ways (lack of oestrogen causes a woman's body to start acting more like a man's especially when it comes to where fat is distributed),
then surely it's only fair that a man who is transgendering and is aged over 60' should also have to put up with less female hormones..

(I know about the slight increase of breast cancer, which by the way could do with updating - and is often quoted, which causes unnecessary scaremongering)

Are women getting a raw deal from the medical profession?

scallopsrgreat Thu 11-Jun-15 17:10:02

Well my MIL is 83 and still on HRT. But she has been talked down to frequently about it and how she shouldn't be on it. Thankfully she has a good GP.

I don't doubt that women are pressurised by the medical profession in this way.

From a feminist perspective I'm a bit hum-ho about HRT in the same way I'm a bit hum-ho about hormonal contraception. Women's mental health and biology having to be medicated, most probably with side effects (I am woefully uninformed about this!).

But yes I agree with you with regards the discrepancy with the way men and women are treated by the medical profession. HRT being classed as 'non-essential' I suppose. Trans-gender drugs as 'essential'.

I have to say I am a bit hmm about you talking about "womanly ways" too.

QueenStromba Thu 11-Jun-15 17:14:42

I wish I'd known about that the other day when I was explaining to DP how everything given to trans people is something that has been taken from women. He brought up the surgery/hormones etc and I pointed out that if the NHS weren't spending money on that then they would have money for other things. He reckoned that it wasn't a feminist issue because the money could equally be spent on men. He eventually agreed that women probably do need more healthcare than men due to our biology and so any drain on the NHS would affect us more.

meyesmyeyes Thu 11-Jun-15 18:10:50

Scallops, I worded that part wrong, I suppose I should have said female features. Or features that people associate with being female.

AuntieStella Thu 11-Jun-15 18:13:47

This thread has links to the proposed/interim guidelines which are out for consultation at the moment: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/menopause/2391987-NICE-guidelines

meyesmyeyes Thu 11-Jun-15 18:16:09

Also, Scallops, does your MIL live in the UK?
Finding a GP that will prescribe HRT at 83 must be rarer than hen's teeth (the current crop of GP's have unfortunately all being brainwashed by current guidelines and no longer seem to think for themselves)

Itshould be about adult women, discussing the pros and cons with their GP, then weighing things up and then making an informed decision about whether they wish to continue.
It's the woman's life. She should decide.

But we live in a nanny state so that's not going to happen.

meyesmyeyes Thu 11-Jun-15 18:18:23

AuntieStella,
that link is very interesting.

Thousands of women are being shoved on anti-depressants rather than being offered HRT.

It's criminal.

noddingoff Thu 11-Jun-15 21:26:38

Scallops, I really agree with you about being hum-ho about medicating women's health and biology.
HRT is unnatural.
But 83 year olds don't exist in nature.
Few 60 year olds exist, even.
Once you've reproduced and, possibly, helped to rear grandchildren (Nature considers 40 to be a suitable age to be a grandmother) then you are totally irrelevant as far as Nature is concerned and may as well die off (suffering optional).
Nature doesn't care.
So if you're 60 or 83 and want HRT, and are informed about the risks:benefits, then lash on.

scallopsrgreat Thu 11-Jun-15 22:01:51

Yes she is in the UK. And yes she is a rarity. She has other health issues which I think HRT helps with. She was also in the medical profession which may have helped.

It's not that I don't think women should have HRT. It is the way it can be used to shut women up - a bit like shoving them on anti-depressants (simplified I know). Also the fact that society doesn't allow or take into consideration women going through the menopause. It is to be done silently and stoically.

HelenaDove Fri 12-Jun-15 00:38:20

I did NOT know about this. Appalling. And more proof that a womans libido is seen as less important than a mans. And i DO mean a man (im not talking about trans women) because if a 60 year old man complained of a low libido i bet something would be done.

CuttedUpPear Fri 12-Jun-15 05:34:34

I live in the UK, am on HRT and my nurse at my GP's practice - who was the one who prescribed for me - says she has women in their eighties who aee still on it and won't let her take them off it.
She seemed very happy about this and I am too!

paxtecum Fri 12-Jun-15 05:48:28

I won't take HRT.
I take phyto soya supplements and good vitamins and minerals.
I have no post menopausal symptoms and I have good bone density.

HRT is not essential to being a fit and healthy 60 plus woman.

TanteRose Fri 12-Jun-15 06:01:40

good for you, paxtecum, but from what I can gather, HRT is usually the best thing for some women with severe meno symptoms.

all women are different smile

meyesmyeyes Fri 12-Jun-15 08:35:17

To look at things,on the other side of the coin:

Somebody mentioned that, year's ago, grandmothers wouldn't even have existed in nature. And women should just 'accept' getting old and the problems it can bring.

If that's the case, why aren't men expected to accept ageing? it's also perfectly natural, as a man gets older, for his erectile function to slow down and not be as efficient as it was.

So when an elderly man goes to the GP and requests Viagra, so that he can carry on performing the same as he did as a young man, does the GP refuse it? Does the GP expect him to see it as a 'natural' part of getting older and something that should be viewed as a natural part of getting old and to be quietly accepted?

Does he heck! They can have their prescription for Viagra no matter how old they get.

Can people not see that double standards are going on here.

It's not about whether hrt is right or wrong, or good for you or bad for you, it's about the unfairness of how women are treated when it comes to ageing and how controlling the medical profession is towards them.

OneFlewOverTheDodosNest Fri 12-Jun-15 10:06:25

It's not just HRT though is it? The medical profession treats women badly (or at least condescendingly) from the moment they want to start regulating their cycles.

Look at the current push to put young women on implant contraceptives rather than the pill because of slightly failure rates. I can't imagine that any doctor who recommended this course of treatment said "Oh there may be some quite nasty side effects to this - you could be bleeding for months on end, experience excruciating head aches and migraines, completely lose any sign of libido, gain weight, feel like your entire personality has changed and have trouble controlling your emotions, but this is the better thing to do because we don't trust you to remember your pills"

No, instead they gloss over the side effects as "occasional minor headaches, intermittent spotting" and then frequently refuse to acknowledge, and crucially, record side effects when you present wanting to have the implant removed because you're going through living hell.

It's a consistent attitude that doctors know best, that informed consent really isn't necessary because women don't really know what they want, poor souls, and that we ought to be "steered" into decisions for our own good. And let's not get started on what some poor women are put through in labour.

meyesmyeyes Fri 12-Jun-15 11:29:05

OneFlewOver, you are right, the medical profession don't seem trust women of any age to be able to make any decisions for themselves.

They are constantly trying to steer us in directions we don't want to go.

The constant badgering of women to have a coil fitted gets on my tits as well.

Gina111 Fri 12-Jun-15 11:41:26

Over 50% of GPs in England are female. Do you feel female GP's do not trust other women to weigh up the pros and cons and come to a decision for themselves? Do you think sexism is endemic in female GPs?

LurcioAgain Fri 12-Jun-15 11:50:23

An interesting thread, and very personal for me. I'm perimenopausal and about 8 months into starting with HRT. Recently had to up the dosage because my symptoms started to come back. As others have said, individual women's responses to the menopause are immensely variable. My reasons for taking it are: hot sweats waking me every 2 hours coupled with galloping insomnia (feels very like jet lag - every fibre in your body is crying out for sleep but some part of your brain is just in whizzy overdrive); brain fog such that I can't bloody do my job (not just as the after-effects of insomnia, though that's undoubtedly part of it - my brain just doesn't seem to work properly without enough oestrogen); grumpiness, affecting my relationship with my DS (and with colleagues, poor sods); massive attacks of can't-be-arsed-itis (feels a bit like depression in that respect - suddenly you just can't see why doing the laundry, or the dishes, or meeting deadlines at work matter); and loss of libido (actually the least important one, but still makes me feel not like me). I've had issues with an over-active thyroid in the past, and in terms of negative impact on my life, this entirely natural hormonal imbalance is almost as debilitating as one clearly labelled as an illness.

I am dreading the point in about five or six years time when the GP says "well, you've had the treatment for the length of time NICE recommends, now you have to just suck up feeling crap and being unable to function in your day-to-day life." I want to be able to make an informed decision and say "yes, I understand that this doubles or triples my risk of dying from certain cancers or a stroke in the next five years... but actually, on balance, given how crap my life is without these tablets, that's a risk I as an intelligent individual am prepared to take."

meyesmyeyes Fri 12-Jun-15 13:31:11

Over 50% of GPs in England are female. Do you feel female GP's do not trust other women to weigh up the pros and cons and come to a decision for themselves? Do you think sexism is endemic in female GPs?

Male, female, it doesn't matter.
Female patients (especially older female patients) aren't trusted to take responsibility for their own health and bodies.

If, at the age of 60, I decided, that after weighing up the pro's and con's of HRT , that I would like to continue, then I should be allowed to continue with the treatment.

Do the 50% of female GPs in England refuse, for example, to give men Viagra after the age of 60?
You should do you know - it can cause heart attacks!
Or do you allow the man to make his own decisions on whether to go ahead and take it?
Does he get a 'talk' about all the DANGERS!!!!!! and how he should just 'accept' the fact he can't get it up anymore and recognize it as a normal part of ageing.
No he doesn't.
I don't think they get spoken to and lectured about things in the same way we do.
Men are being given something that enables them to continue living their lives in the same manner as when they were younger men.

We are given something that for many women, makes lives a hell of a lot easier and restores them physically and mentally to normality, only for the medical profession to whip it away from us a few years later.

It's cruel and very controlling.

meyesmyeyes Fri 12-Jun-15 13:35:18

I am dreading the point in about five or six years time when the GP says "well, you've had the treatment for the length of time NICE recommends, now you have to just suck up feeling crap and being unable to function in your day-to-day life." I want to be able to make an informed decision and say "yes, I understand that this doubles or triples my risk of dying from certain cancers or a stroke in the next five years... but actually, on balance, given how crap my life is without these tablets, that's a risk I as an intelligent individual am prepared to take."

Exactly Lurcio.
Like you I have weighed everything up.
I look after my health, keep my blood pressure and cholesterol under control, I don't smoke.
I've even researched my family tree re breast cancers etc.
So surely, as a responsible adult, I should be able to continue taking it for as long as it makes me feel better?

It shouldn't be a one-size fits all way of doing things.

meyesmyeyes Fri 12-Jun-15 13:38:00

Hopefully some GPs are reading this, male and female.

Gilrack Fri 12-Jun-15 13:42:54

As a 60-year-old female woman on HRT - hopefully for life - I'm just plopping my experience in here. Feminism tends to have strong feelings about HRT, which aren't always that well informed.

As I have PCOS, I've been on some form of hormonal medication for approx half my adult life. While un-medicated, my atypical hormones brought several advantages but also some absolutely massive disadvantages. 25% of women have it. PCOS is a metabolic disorder, it doesn't go away with menopause or removal of the ovaries.

I tell my GP every year that I want to stay on HRT. My prescription continues. GPs are supposed to review ongoing medication; this isn't confined to HRT or women's meds in general. The increased risk of cancer is statistically very small, even though I'm a smoker. The much wider & more immediate health benefits, particularly for bone density and fat composition, far outweigh the risk. Anyone whose GP hasn't updated their knowledge in ten years can easily find a trustworthy article to print out.

The HRT supplied to menopausal women on the NHS provides a much smaller dose of hormones than the Pill (about 10% iirc.) It doesn't make your skin younger or your hair thicker (sadly!) It bears very little relation to the hormonal meds used in gender transition - those are massive doses with very real risks to patients' overall health. A lot of MtF transitioners use even higher oestrogen doses than needed, for the 'beauty' effects. This puts a big strain on many organs, particularly the liver, and brings other dangers.

I get a bit cross about (invariably younger) women saying MtFs are like menopausal FtFs! The issues are not the same in any shape or form. No, we don't have loads in common. No, we do not share the same concerns.

HRT for women is safe, and available for as long as we feel a benefit smile

meyesmyeyes Fri 12-Jun-15 13:44:09

"^yes, I understand that this doubles or triples my risk of dying from certain cancers or a stroke in the next five years..^

Lurcio, those statistics are out of date. The current thinking is that it only carries a 'slight' increase in risk.

Unfortunately, about 10 years ago when it was discovered that there was a slight rise in breast cancer in women who took HRT, the press, as per usual, took the word 'risk' and exaggerated it as they do
They scare mongered HRT to hell and gone.

In fact, they exaggerated it to such an extent that a whole generation of women were put off using HRT and Doctors were reluctant to prescribe it.
A whole generation of women were failed proper care.

Luckily, more non-hysterical studies have been done and the concensus is that the benefits (in certain cases) outweigh the 'slight' risks.

Unfortunately, not all health authorities have updated their knowledge.
So it will take a while to filter through to the patients. If at all.

meyesmyeyes Fri 12-Jun-15 13:47:59

yes, I understand that this doubles or triples my risk of dying from certain cancers or a stroke in the next five years.

Lurcio, those statistics are out of date. The current thinking is that HRT only carries a 'slight' increase in risk and not a high risk as previously thought.

Unfortunately, about 10 years ago when it was discovered that there was a slight rise in breast cancer in women who took HRT, the Press, as per usual, took the word 'risk' and exaggerated into massive scare mongering stories - as they do
They scare mongered HRT to hell and gone.

In fact, they exaggerated it to such an extent that a whole generation of women were put off using HRT and Doctors were reluctant to prescribe it.

A result of this was that a whole generation of women were failed proper care and were basically advised to put up and shut up.

Luckily, more 'non-hysterical' studies have since been done and the current consensus is that the benefits (in certain cases) outweigh the 'slight' risks involved in taking HRT.

Unfortunately, not all health authorities have updated their knowledge.
So it will take a while to filter through to the patients. If at all.

meyesmyeyes Fri 12-Jun-15 13:52:28

The increased risk of cancer is statistically very small. The much wider & more immediate health benefits, particularly for bone density and fat composition, far outweigh the risk. Anyone whose GP hasn't updated their knowledge in ten years can easily find a trustworthy article to print out

Exactly.

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