From anti-HRT to pro HRT - my journey

HRT Myths busted

So, my last period was the month I turned 50 years of age. Then all of my menopause symptoms started. the hot flushes were the worst…20-30 a day, plus the night sweats, then the fatigue, then the dry-eye, the getting up to go to the loo at night…the list goes on. Meanwhile the narrative in my head was that Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) would be the last resort, if at all. Why? What I knew factually about HRT was zilch! But that didn’t stop me believing the myths, which were:

Myth 1 - HRT gives you breast cancer

Myth 2 - HRT makes women develop middle age spread

Myth 3 - HRT is for women who are not strong enough to power through!

So, I avoided the GP and spent my time, three years to be precise, trying different ‘alternative’ options. All to no avail, except to waste my time, my energy and my money!!

After 3 years I ‘gave in’ and went to my GP. That’s what I thought I was doing… giving in. Oh, the power of hindsight. If I knew then what I know now, I would have looked for HRT in my mid forties.

I am now a HRT advocate, a convert! Once I went onto HRT, the good stuff, the body-identical, nature- identical stuff, I felt fantastic. I will admit that It did take several months to get to the correct dosage for me. And then ALL My symptoms were gone. My vitality was back. I looked and sounded better. The old me was back.

But furthermore, in the longer term my bones are protected from osteoporosis, my heart is protected, so I have less risk of a heart attack and my cognitive function is protected against the risk of dementia and Alzheimers.

So let me re-frame the myths I once carried in that pretty little head of mine.

Myth 1 - HRT gives you breast cancer - WRONG - the benefits fa outweigh the risks for most women. And the chart below puts the risks of breast cancer, as a result of HRT, in context. Women in the age bracket 50-59 have a greater risk of breast cancer from being overweight or obese, or from drinking 2 units of alcohol or more every day.

Myth 2 - HRT makes women develop middle age spread - WRONG - once you make lifestyle changes, including diet, exercise, cutting back on alcohol and get on the right HRT for you, weight should not be an issue.

Myth 3 - HRT is for women who are not strong enough to power through! - WRONG - as women are most likely to live between 33% to 50% of their lives post-menopausal they need to be in optimum health for as long as possible. And as more of us than ever work outside the home, we need to be able to perform in our jobs in ways that was not expected of most of our mothers.

I hope in some small way, I have helped you understand the facts from the myths. And to break down that fear somewhat.

We at The Menopause Hub want to Empathise with you, Educate you and Empower you to manage your menopause your way.

Loretta Dignam