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DID SOMEONE WHISPER HRT?





BEING ON HRT IS NOT A FAILURE

There are approximately 13m women peri and post menopause in the UK and yet, according to recent stats, only 1m who are on HRT. This may be partly down to women who have had cancer treatment, a history or genetic predisposition to blood clots, heart or liver disease or strokes and are not able to have HRT. However, 42% of us never visit a doctor or other healthcare professional to seek help or support with our transition, despite women describing the experience and symptoms as worse than they had anticipated. Apart from women’s innate nature to ‘get on with it’, another barrier to HRT is fear around the link between HRT and cancer. Women’s Health Concern have published a fact sheet around the risks of HRT, explaining that the findings released in 2002 were based on studies with flawed samples (post-menopause women in their 60’s, many with underlying health issues) and old style HRT that is no longer in circulation. The general consensus by the medical profession is that HRT is the most effective treatment for women ‘suffering’ with symptoms with the majority of women’s symptoms being alleviated or managed within a couple of months. Whilst most women in the UK prefer natural ways & lifestyle adjustments to enhance their health, the reality is that this doesn’t work for everyone. If you struggle with will power or are finding the natural route is not enough, please seek medical help with a doctor or menopause specialist. You should see this as an important step to investing in your long-term health, relationships and improving your quality of life. Your age, symptoms, health history and whether you have a uterus will all be taken into account with what treatment you’ll be prescribed.

A FEW FACTS

  • If you are over the age of 45 years, you shouldn’t be asked a hormone test to assess if you are in perimenopause, as diagnosis should be based on your account of symptoms. As most women experience fluctuating hormones in their early 40’s, hormone tests are not accurate and can lead to misdiagnosis or the wrong kind of treatment

  • If your symptoms are vaginal, then you will be offered the option of a topical oestrogen cream, tablet or ring which does not have risks associated with HRT or a moisturising cream

  • There's growing evidence that HRT taken before 60 years of age reduces the risk of strokes, cardio-vascular disease & osteoporosis

  • Estrogel (Estradiol – 0.06%), a gel, is an oestrogen format that is flexible in its dosage, easy to apply and doesn’t have side effects or risks that tablets & some patches have

  • Micronised progesterone (Utrogestan) is a new kind of progesterone which is body identical, made from yams with lower side effects. It has no increased risk of breast cancer for the first 5 years of taking it and after then, the increased risk is debatable (Source: Dr Louise Newson - Menopause Manual)

  • Be wary of private bio-identical health clinics. They charge a fortune for hormone testing – this gives the impression of individualised care but unless it’s for testosterone, is unnecessary & inaccurate. Bio-identical progesterone, like Utrogestan is also made from yams but has no clinical evidence to suggest effectiveness and are unregulated – if you want to find menopause specialist that abide by recommended health practice, visit the BMS website

  • For most women, mental symptoms can precede physical ones. HRT should always be prescribed as the first treatment to try, ahead of anti-depressants, unless a medical condition or history precludes the prescribing of hormone treatment

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