Dr Marie O’Neill
D Clin Psy, C Psychol


Menopause and HRT Information

PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL MEDICAL INFORMATION GIVEN ON THIS WEBSITE IS AS ACCURATE AND COMPREHENSIVE AS POSSIBLE BUT IT IS ONLY GENERAL ADVICE AND SHOULD NOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR CONSULTING YOUR OWN DOCTOR FOR INDIVIDUAL ADVICE.

Definitions

  • Menopause – this has occurred when you have not had a natural period for one year (if you are not on medication that stops your periods). The average age for this in the UK is 51 but any time between 45 and 55 is considered normal. You are then described as postmenopausal.
  • Perimenopause – this is the time when you develop menopausal symptoms but are still having periods although they may be more frequent, irregular, lighter or heavier. This phase can last up to 10 years.
  • Postmenopausal bleeding – a vaginal bleed when your last period was at least one year ago. THIS NEEDS URGENT ASSESSMENT WHICH IS ARRANGED VIA YOUR GP.
  • Surgical menopause – your ovaries are removed during a surgical operation (bilateral oophorectomy). This causes a rapid onset of menopausal symptoms due to the sudden loss of oestrogen (and testosterone).
  • Medical menopause – can be caused by chemotherapy, radiotherapy and some other drugs.
  • Early menopause – the menopause occurs before the age of 45.
  • Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) – the menopause occurs before the age of 40 (about 1 in 100 women).

If you have been diagnosed with an early menopause or POI it is very important to take HRT until at least your early 50s unless there is a specific contraindication. Many women in this age group have been put off taking HRT by media scares but they do need to replace the natural hormones they have lost to protect their heart and bones for the future. Young women with a surgical menopause need to start HRT as soon as possible after their operation. They often benefit from testosterone replacement as well.

Symptoms

There are many different symptoms caused by falling oestrogen levels, some of which may be a surprise to you or your doctor. This symptom checker  (click to download or open)  may be useful to print off and fill in if you are having a GP consultation. If attending my clinic, we will go through these symptoms during the consultation, filling it in beforehand is optional and can be done online here.

HRT – types

  •  compounded bioidentical  and regulated body identical HRT
  • side-effects
  • benefits
  • risks

Testosterone

Local (vaginal) oestrogen

 

HRT Myths

There are so many myths about HRT, many of them stemming from the misleading results of the Women’s Health Initiative study of 2002 which have since been re-evaluated.
 

18 myths

Recommended books

Recommended websites