Understanding HRT and menopause
Menopause can be tough. In popular culture, such as sitcoms and television shows, menopausal women are shown as being amusingly overheated and irritable. In these shows, the audience is invited to laugh at – and laugh along with – the woman suffering from these symptoms. This practice of making menopause (and menstruation) something marginal and laughable is not ideal: the symptoms of menopause can be tough, reducing a patient’s quality of life.
Many women think that the menopause strikes at around the age of 50 and takes a few months to go through, before the body settles down into a menstruation-free era. This could not be further from the truth. Menopause begins with perimenopause which literally means ‘before menopause’. Perimenopause brings with it many of the symptoms of menopause and can last for up to ten years. Faced with a whole decade of irregular periods, severe mood disruption, hot and cold flushes, poor sleep and many other hormonal upsets, it is no surprise that menopausal women can become depressed or suffer from anxiety.
There is a solution: HRT
HRT, or hormone replacement therapy, has had something of a bad rap in previous decades when the treatment was new and all the side effects had not yet been ironed out. There is also a persistent rumour that HRT can reduce your life-span: something that has been definitively proven to be untrue.
Now, there is a slightly increased chance of breast cancer – something which raises alarm in those who may be at risk – but the increased risk is very slight indeed. The statistics show an increase of perhaps 1 in every 1000, or 0.1% of an increased risk. For some women, this increased risk has been enough for them to eschew HRT because of the exaggerated warnings in tabloids and magazines.
But as many as 85% of all women going through the menopause suffer the symptoms mentioned above, and that equals around 1.5 million women whose suffering could be alleviated with HRT.
A visit to a female gynaecologist is an excellent way to set your mind at ease and go through all the options available to you if you are currently perimenopausal or menopausal. Do not delay – book your appointment as soon as possible and get your treatment underway to restore your quality of life.