If HRT is not an option, what treatments would you recommend?
If there are medical reasons you can’t use HRT, there are other treatments available. These will depend on your symptoms, but discuss it with your GP. Your GP may offer you low dose antidepressants. This isn’t because they think you’re depressed but they can have a positive impact on flashes, sweats and mood.
Are natural remedies a good idea?
As a first step, you can try over-the-counter remedies. There is some evidence that Red Clover and Black Cohosh may help flushes. There’s little evidence of magnets, oil of evening Primrose, or progesterone cream helping. If you’d like to try natural remedies, talk to your GP or pharmacist.
Can I have HRT if there is history of breast cancer in my family?
You may well be able to use Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). It will depend how many relatives, how close they are to you and their age.
When is the right time to come off HRT?
There’s no point stopping HRT within a few months as your symptoms are likely to return. Many people take HRT for a couple of years, then reduce and stop. They then assess how they’re feeling. The longer you stay on HRT, the more benefit to your bone health and cardiovascular system. The risks of HRT are generally low. You don’t have to stop HRT because of your age.
Is hypertension a symptom of menopause?
Menopause does not usually cause high blood pressure, but it can happen at around the same time. Wherever you are in your menopausal journey, speak to your GP. It will not stop you taking HRT once treated.
I'm on HRT – how regular should my GP re-assessments be?
Once settled on HRT, your GP should review you every year, or sooner if you prefer. Between visits, report any changes in bleeding or if your medical situation changes.
Is bioidentical HRT better?
The term ‘bioidentical’ is often misunderstood. HRT is usually ‘bio’ or ‘body’ identical. This means they’re as close as possible to our natural hormones. HRT comes in set doses, at various strengths, personalised for you. Some private clinics use ‘Compounded’ bioidenticals, tailored to the individual. But they’re not regulated in the same way as conventional HRT, so may not be better for you.
Can HRT impact your sex drive?
Hormones aren't the only factor to influence sex drive. Some people notice that starting HRT improves sex drive. It may be that they feel much better, leading to increased well-being and sensuality.
Will HRT help any long-term health?
If you take HRT to relieve symptoms, it’s reassuring that it will have added benefits too. This includes heart and bone health, brain function and could reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. It often improves skin and hair condition. It will also help to maintain a healthy vagina and bladder. If you’re under 40 and take HRT, it will have a particularly positive impact on your long-term health.
How and why does time of day affect my HRT medication?
For the majority of HRT, it doesn’t matter when you take the medication, as long as you take it around the same time each day. If you’re using progesterone tablets (Utrogestan), they should be taken at night. You should also take them on an empty stomach. If you’re using oestrogen gel and have night sweats, you may find it better to use the gel in the evening.
What diet do you recommend to help keep menopause symptoms at bay?
Stick to a general healthy diet during menopause. This means a diet rich in calcium, low in saturated fat. Also limit sugar and avoid foods that might trigger symptoms. These include spicy foods, alcohol and hot drinks. You might consider adding soy to your diet, for renal health, but this may not help symptoms on its own. Take a vitamin D supplement from October to March (min 400iu). This is because it’s more difficult to get through winter and is vital for bone health.
Can you take HRT and antidepressants at the same time?
Yes, you can use these together and for some, it makes a good treatment combination. Your GP will be able to advise you on the best medication combinations.