Menopause Matters

Managing menopause matters

In terms of the menopause experience we are all unique. The symptoms we experience and the impact on our quality of life is different for each of us. Equally the effects of treatments used to counteract menopause will impact on each of us differently. For some of us hormone treatments will restore our well being effectively and safely. For some of us hormone treatments are not suitable, not tolerated or risks too great.

One size does not fit all.

That is why there was so much bad publicity about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) around a decade ago.

In the 1980s and 90s virtually all women were offered or treated with HRT by their GPs and left on treatment indefinitely. Studies then showed this approach led to some women coming to harm. This is because appropriate risk assessments were not carried out and review of safety was not assessed over time by their GPs

The safety of HRT has been shown to be relatively easily determined by risk assessments. For example a women of 70 years who has been treated with HRT for 20 year has a significant risk of suffering damage to the heart or brain blood vessels and/or developing a new breast cancer.

This scenario would not happen on my watch now, nor would it have before the large safety studies were published. It not rocket science. The key to safe hormone treatment is appropriate risk assessment and regular treatment monitoring.

Here is a different scenario. A woman of 53 years, with a challenging job, difficulty coping at work due to severe menopausal symptoms,  has lost her sex drive leading to relationship strain bordering on breakdown. She has no adverse risk factors for HRT. She is treated with HRT and quality of life returns, relationship back on track, weaned off treatment after 2 to 5 years without any recurrence of symptoms (often treatment can be even shorter than this).

So if you are considering HRT make sure you discuss the pros cons and safety with an expert like me so that you can make an informed choice and have a safe management strategy tailored to your needs.

What about those who can’t have HRT, perhaps due to risk of breast cancer, clots in the legs or high blood pressure, or who don’t want to pursue that route for whatever reason? Its personal choice after all.

Well the good news is that there is a lot we can do ourselves to improve quality of life through menopause. Again the lifestyle approach and change that you need to make to help your menopausal symptoms and quality of life will be different for every woman depending on their prior lifestyle and menopausal experience.

For example some women suffer severely with insomnia and night sweats, for some its loss of libido (sex drive) or pain on intercourse, some struggle with muscle and bone pain, some with spiralling weight and for the unlucky ones it’s a full house.

So many different symptoms can occur in menopause.

If you do not want to consider HRT or if you want to improve your health holistically during menopause as well as taking HRT….

There are other ways to optimise well-being in menopause other than HRT. See my article on 7 secrets to wellness in menopause.

 

Dr Annice Mukherjee, Hormone Consultant & Fatigue Expert