Here’s an informative post for you all!
I want to discuss HRT with you guys…as a sufferer of Early menopause, the health professionals want me to be on HRT for.. well basically the rest of my life, but is this the right thing to do? Ultimately its your own personal choice, and i have made mine, but i thought i’d share with you guys some information that i think could be a stepping stone for anyone deciding about HRT, Early menopause or not!
It has been in and out of the news, even in the headlines for many years now, and as a result people like me who are going through or who have been through the menopause can be left confused, worried and concerned about the best route to take.. and that is no surprise.. the information we receive if often conflicted and rather vague, yes we have our GP’s but even they seem to find the whole topic rather complicated. (mine has a little book they pull out and literally closes there eyes and points)
I have a decent grasp of the recent studies linked with HRT over the past few years, but for the sake of being able to give you guys a well rounded view of what the current thoughts are i thought i would start my research with a simple google search… i am sure many of you guys will have already done so if you are or have been menopausal.
But it really has astounded me how little FACTUAL information there is out there for normal, everyday people like us… the information i did find has been hugely contradictory, now i appreciate that HRT can take different forms, with different ingredients at different doses, but the information out there should be vaguely similar for most kinds surely?
The first thing that comes into most peoples minds when considering HRT is breast cancer, there was a well documented scare nearly a decade ago now where it was broadcast on a grand scale that ‘HRT will give you cancer’ good one guys!!! Lets just terrify everyone into thinking they are going to get cancer! WOW
They are now saying that it can be linked with hearing loss… but in fairness the average age of a menopausal woman is 50+… so who says that these tests are accurate?
This is what the NHS has to say about the use of HRT, so even they are telling us that cancer is a risk, but they have to cover all basis (and there arses) don’t they?
I have read some very good articles!
One article that was of huge interest to me was this one which explains the findings of research done at Yale university, where controlled studies were done back when it was thought HRT was good for cardiovascular health, but was promptly stopped when it seemed the findings contradicted this entirely. however further research suggests the study had been too quick to decide its original findings… read it here.
The issue i have is women take HRT for different reasons, indeed there are women whose lives have been made infinitely more bearable, the night sweats, the mood swings, the vaginal dryness.. the claim of all these woman is not being contested, these women struggle endlessly without HRT, sometimes having to try many different ones until life if more bearable, the BBC documentary menopause and me was a great way to show people the reality of menopause and the way in which HRT can help symptoms, sometimes over night but how does it effect us long term? In reality how much will we ever know? And surely it is a personal challenge for women to decide how much they can cope with symptoms they are having in relation to the potential risks they should take with their long term health!
So what should we do??
It seems the general consensus is to use HRT for 3 years Max. and this is where the problem, for women with POI (early menopause) lies, the risks of not taking HRT are osteoporosis, i am 27 and have osteopenia already, taking any form of hormones makes me seriously ill, the migraines, nausea, fatigue, and anxiety brought on from the reminder it is all to do with the fact i am hugely INFERTILE is just too much to cope with, i have tried so many types of HRT with no let up of these symptoms that it wasn’t worth it for me, but it seems the price i am paying is the rapidly reducing quality of my bones! I discussed this with a doctor of mine once, years ago and she basically said, well your choice is.. be really ill for the duration you choose to take HRT, or don’t take it and potentially be in a wheelchair by the time your 35!! FABULOUS…. might as well get it ordered now and tuck it away!
That’s not saying i wont go back on HRT at any point, but i try to work out ways to support my bones through lifestyle and diet, for example,
- Reduce salt intake, yes table salt, but also processed foods, wholegrain bread and cereals can have a high salt content, and these are food that are eaten on a daily basis!
- Reduce fizzy drinks, i cant actually remember the source of this information, but apparently fizzy drinks are not good for the bones, i guess due to the higher sugar content, so i avoid these as much as possible.
- High calcium intake, i’d love to say i let myself eat tons of cheese but alas i’m far too strict on myself diet wise to allow that, but i drink plenty of milk and have yogurt every night.
- Load baring exercise, i try to strengthen my bone and muscle by staying active and exercise regularly.
I came across this article which highlights natural HRT alternatives, non of these are going to make you ill… so for me, its totally worth a read and maybe try out a couple, these days i am not in need of HRT to reduce any menopausal symptoms, i just want to protect my bones as much as possible, for as long as i can from what sounds like the inevitable.
This article highlights ways to help bone density without taking HRT and is really worth looking over for inspiration if you are undecided on what route is best for you!
In conclusion.. i think that the decision is personal, and there is no RIGHT or WRONG, you need to do what is best for you and your reasons for (possibly) needing HRT, but do your research, speak to your doctor!!
I hope what i have put together has gone some way to help you on the way to deciding what is best for you!
If you are currently suffering from Early menopause, there is help out there, for advise, support or just to listen, the daisy network in particular is a great charity with information, a telephone service, forum and regular meet ups! Use them, we are lucky to have them!!
If all else fails… i am always here.. i want to help, i need to help.. i think its my calling!
For something a little less serious… check out my weekly goals!!