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HRT for the over-60s

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preferredplanet Wed 22-Jun-11 12:24:30

I'm posting on behalf of my mum, who's 66 and was on HRT for many years, but started to come off it earlier this year. Since then, she's had terrible menopausal symptoms of sweating (having to shower more or less every hour at times!) and general ill-being (if that's the opposite of wellbeing!) - fatigue, fuzzy head etc etc.

She's tried various natural remedies such as cohosh, flax seed etc, and they seem to work temporarily then wear off, and she's back to the symptoms again. Docs have said it could be 2 or 3 years before she's over the menopause and she's getting desperate and saying she's going to give it another couple of weeks, then ask to go back on a low-dose HRT. She says there are risks associated with that but she's in a low category. Does anyone know what these risks are?

And if anyone has any experience of this or advice, I'd be most grateful, for her. Thanks in advance.

harrigran Wed 22-Jun-11 12:36:58

I think I would leave the natural remedies alone, all prescribed drugs are thoroughly tested but some natural ones can cause liver damage. Suggest a check up with Doctor, these symptoms can be caused by other conditions too.

baggythecrust! Wed 22-Jun-11 12:51:09

Did her GP mention withdrawal symptoms? Never been on HRT so just wondering if it could be that.

JessM Wed 22-Jun-11 13:12:22

Hear hear Harrigran. Black Cohosh for instance eventually shown to have no effect on this, and possibly causes liver damage in some people.
Your poor mum. Back to the doctor. I believe there are one or two other things they can try. The only risk of HRT that I am aware of is increased tendency to breast cancer. Not trivial when you think it is v common. Around 1 in 10 of us. Hence if you have any BC in the family you are advised to steer clear.

preferredplanet Wed 22-Jun-11 13:24:38

Bloody hell, liver damage?! Will advise her of that asap. Many thanks for the replies so far, I appreciate it. Don't know about withdrawal symptoms, baggy.

I will make sure she goes back and asks about the other possibilities. The "methadone" of HRT, as it were! grin. I just know she's having a pretty miserable time of it at the moment. Thanks.

glammanana Wed 22-Jun-11 13:43:22

preferredplanet,I have taken HRT at differant strengths since I was 40 and
had a very bad cancer problem so had to have inplants of HRT then tablet
form it took a bit of getting right but we got there in the end.Over the years my
GP has ajusted the dose so it is now very low,i came off it 4 years ago
and suffered badly so he put me on the lowest dosage and everything is ok
now,I hope you mum goes and has another chat with her GP things get
better for her,I feel great now and have loads of energy etc and am now 61
in September

glassortwo Wed 22-Jun-11 13:46:04

I have been to the Doctors this morning for my 6 month HRT repeat, I am only 55, Dr has said I should be thinking of coming off and that he will probably draw the line at another prescription in 6 months, my blood pressure etc is normal and have regular breast screening and examination.

I got home and am thinking to my self should I bite the bullet and stop now before I start this new prescrition or do I wait! He did not say if it was a case of just stopping them or decreasing the dose. does anybody have any experience on this.

Magsie Wed 22-Jun-11 17:10:19

As I understand it, when you take HRT you are just delaying the menopause by taking the hormones your body no longer produces. When you stop taking HRT, you will then develop menopausal symptoms to some degree. During a "natural" menopause (without HRT) the levels of hormone reduce gradually but if you stop taking HRT abruptly (cold turkey) you can develop severe symptoms because the hormone levels drop very quickly. I think current thought is to reduce the dose of HRT gradually over the course of weeks or months. I'm sure this is best done under a doctor's supervision but some doctors are more sympathetic than others with regard to menopausal symptoms.

GillieB Wed 22-Jun-11 18:03:57

I only took HRT for about fourteen months when I was in my fifties - I was still having problems with tiredness, saw another doctor and that's when they discovered that I have a very underactive thyroid. My doctor suggested that I gradually withdrew from the HRT - from one a day to one every two days, and then three days, etc. I guess my menopausal symptoms then lasted for about another six months. This slow withdrawal system certainly worked for me - perhaps it will work for your mum.

jogginggirl Wed 22-Jun-11 20:00:03

I'm sure Magsie is right, I took HRT for 10 years with one 12 month break. When I finally stopped about 18 months ago (due to cancer scare), my menopause symptoms were much worse, I struggled for a while but started to exercise more, lost weight and follow a sensible diet. I tried a lot of natural remedies but didn't find them helpful. I now feel much better, very occasional hot flush, but no symptoms to speak of. I am coming up to 60 and hope I have seen the last of it. I'm absolutely sure that a slow withdrawal from HRT would be better but I had no choice. Hope pp's mum finds a solution that suits her, good luck.

preferredplanet Wed 22-Jun-11 21:22:16

Thanks everyone, it seems that gradual withdrawal is the way to go - I'll need to ask her though, I'm sure she'd gone down to only taking her HRT every other day in an effort to make the change not quite so drastic, but looks like that really didn't help. Hm, every third day, possibly? I'll def get her to go back to her GP, many thanks.

susie511 Fri 24-Jun-11 17:43:28

I was on HRT for nearly 10 years, having had severe menopausal symptoms from the age of 48. 18 months ago my GP told me that I had been on it for long enough - but couldn't suggest the best way to do it. After much research (and, frankly, there is very little information out there) I decided that - like coming off any drug - it was probably best done very very slowly. For 2 months, I dropped one pill a week. The following 2 months I dropped another one (so that I was taking only 5 a week). After another 2 months I dropped a third pill (in fact, I went to taking one every other day.) I then bought a pill-cutter from the chemist, and went to half a pill a day for 2 months. Then dropped one of these ... eventually I ended up on 1 pill for a week ... then finished. I am convinced that the very gradual coming off was the way to do it. The whole process took over a year but, apart from some hot flushes for the first 6 months I was off HRT, now I am more of less sympton-free - just the occasional flush at night. So, when wanting to come off HRT, be brave but DO IT SLOWLY!

grannyactivist Fri 24-Jun-11 21:04:49

I went through the menopause at the same time as I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid. I can't describe how tired and ill I felt. As for hot flushes, I'm sure my presence raised room temperatures by at least five degrees. My wonderful GP put me on HRT and a year or so ago reduced the dose to one tablet every other day. I hadn't really thought about coming off it until I read this thread and I can't say I'm looking forward to a return of the menopausal nightmare. GULP I expect my GP will reduce the dose bit by bit, and as she's really considerate and kind I'm confident she'll give me good advice.

sylvia2036 Fri 24-Jun-11 21:37:34

I had a fully hysterectomy when I was 45 and was immediately put on HRT and continued with it until I was 60, which is 2 years ago now. I was advised by my doc to reduce the tablets over a period of a few weeks, which I did and I had menopausal symptoms but they were not extreme - the odd hot flush every few days but they stopped after about 3 months. The worst thing about coming off HRT though is that it has totally messed up my sex life! One becomes dry in a certain area and trying to sort that problem out is no fun - I've tried all the various creams etc - in fact I am seriously thinking of going back on to HRT if my doctor will prescribe it again. I know the risks - my father died of breast cancer -but I also love my husband more.

harrigran Fri 24-Jun-11 23:59:08

I find that a little KY lubricant is all that is required to getting everything running smoothly grin

susiecb Sat 25-Jun-11 08:52:38

I'm 58 and been on Tibolone for several years for awful hot flushes at night meaning no sleep at all so found it difficult to keep down my job. My doctor has said he has given me my last six month script as there is an increased risk of heart disease and stroke associated with long term use. I have Lupus so I dont need anything else! I am weaning myself off now and as I no longer work I think I will be able to manage. What I did say to the GP is I dont want other things to change especially growing a beard and going off my husband if you know what I mean! he says I wont - will keep you posted.

SophiesMum Wed 06-Jul-11 13:48:04

Just like Sylvia I have had a full hysterectomy (but at 50) and thereafter went on to HRT implants twice a year. For the last few years though I have only been having the implants once a year (I am now 62) My Consultant is very much on the ball and specializes in this area, and we have an in depth discussion every time I see him. I have wondered if it was time I stopped taking HRT but when we talk about the risks and the benefits, the benefits always seem to outweigh the risks. How long will I carry on taking HRT, I don't know, but I do worry about how I will feel when I do finally stop. However, I think if you have faith in, and have a good relationship with your doctor/consultant, then that helps you with making this sort of decision. I agree with Harrigran about natural remedies for this sort of thing, best avoided I think.

glassortwo Wed 06-Jul-11 14:02:49

Well I have made the decision to cut back on my HRT, so I have started to slowly reduce the dose over the sixth month precription I have, and see how I cope, I am onto my 3rd week of reduced and it seems to be ok. Dont know if it is too early to see any changes yet!

purplenanny Fri 08-Jul-11 09:42:35

Hi, is anyone taking hrt for osteo-arthritis. I came off hrt 18 months ago after taking for 1 year and my pain has increased greatly since then. Apparently it is eostrogen that helps but I am worried about going back on hrt because of the risks. I am 2 years in to menopause and 55.

cariad25 Thu 30-May-13 02:00:13

Interesting that you should mention HRT and arthritus 'purplenanny'...I am now 65 and after being on Tibleone for approx 15 years was told by the doc it was time to stop much to my disgust! Well after about 6 months I developed pain in so many areas of my body and it has got so bad now that I can hardly walk because it is in my toes and feet, my knees are very bad and I could have an op toomorrow in one of them if I wanted, my fingers are terrible, crooked and ugly and painful! So all in all not good...I did know before stopping that this might happen but didn't envisage it being quite so dramatic and terrible!
There are other disadvantages like the flushes which have been bad, lack of energy and just feeling my age and quite often because of the pain and discomfort much older! I regret so much having to come of HRT and although I understand the docs professional position in this (I did have two 'break through' bleeds, both nothing when investigated) I am very low risk, no heart disease or breast cancer in the family and I have extremely low blood pressure.
However a minor miracle has occured! I saw a gynea last week, a lovely elderly gentleman who I have seen before, he examined me and spent ages talking and asking questions after which he started talking about HRT and asking me how I felt about having to stop taking it...he then told me he wasn't sure that women were supposed to do without it anyway as in the not too distant past women died not long after going into the menopause and so didn't have to live and suffer for years and years sans oestrogen! He said that I was very low risk and that he would write to my doc and ask her to reconsider giving me a low dose, mainly I think with the arthritus in mind as he could see how bad it is....well after I got up off the floor I thanked him profusely and floated home!
I will however only really believe it when I get that prescription in my hand but as I had a left over month's supply I couldn't resist jumping the gun and have started on it already so I hope to goodness the doc is in agreement or I can see myself having to buy it privately online...I am determined to take it and at least give it a go to see if it helps, it may not of course but time will tell!
Sorry this post is ssss long!

Reddevil3 Thu 30-May-13 09:30:37

Oh cariad how I sympathise with you. I had been on Kliofem for several years, changed countries and doctors so went to get my next 3 months supply. Female Dr. refused, told me I had to stop (I was 67) so I had to stop. (She didn't ask about any family or personal history of breast cancer) No suggestion of letting my body down lightly ie. one every other day.
SO..... I started getting hot flushes, vaginal dryness, aches and pains- horrible!
2 years later, having moved again and got married again (I was widowed in 2005) new GP referred me to a lovely gynaecologist as I was having big problems with sex, splitting and bleeding every time. (Not very good for the libido!) He suggested doing a sort of permanent episiotomy to help things.
Went through all that, all the post op discomfort etc.
Slight improvement but all the other symptoms, hot flushes etc. were still there, so went to new GP, (having moved yet again) and on bended knee, pleaded for a supply of Kliofem. He asked about family history etc. and gave it to me!!!!! It's not on a repeat prescription, and I have to go and ask for it every 3 months, but it's definitely worth it. (I'd crawl there to get it!)
I've got my life back, no aches or hot flushes, more energy- wonderful!
I feel that the whole sad story could have been prevented if the first GP had had a bit more understanding/empathy/ sympathy/ information.
My brother is a surgeon and his wife has just started HRT and he is happy about it. I haven't told him the whole story but he thinks it's really bad luck I saw that particular woman in the first place.
Sorry about this diatribe!

Scruffpup Fri 26-Jul-13 01:47:35

I have been on HRT since I was 26 when I had a total hysterectomy. I am now approaching 53 and have recently moved so have a new GP. Th first thing she said was that I should come off HRT as I am now of menopause age. I am really reluctant to do so as I already have many of the symptoms/conditions mentioned in the previous comments such as dry skin, brittle hair and nails, aching joints and horribly twisted arthritic fingers. Really can't face any further deterioration let alone the flushes. Is it really necessary? I have none of the risk factors mentioned so am wondering if I just struck unlucky with my GP, my previous GP never mentioned it at all

j08 Fri 26-Jul-13 09:59:36

I think it's best to go through the menopause naturally. Put up with the symptons. They don't last for ever. Obviously, it's going to be easier to do this at 50 rather than 60.

Ariadne Fri 26-Jul-13 10:14:23

I was on HRT for about 10 years, then diagnosed with breast cancer - an oestrogen positive tumour - and was taken off HRT straight away, of course. I honestly can't decide whether or not the HRT was a contributory factor, but I do know it made my life bearable! I was suffering so much with all the usual symptoms plus something like the worst PMT ever.

Then chemo solved any menopause problems anyway..

Bez Fri 26-Jul-13 10:16:58

Some people can go through the menopause naturally and I would agree that ideally that would be best but for those of us that had symptoms so severe it impacts our daily lives that is a bad situation which HRT can alleviate. I took it for about twelve years and the first time I came off - had taken it every other day for two months to lessen the impact I had dreadful symptoms again - GP put me back on it and the next time I did as someone else on here and took it for 6 days a week for a couple of months and then five etc. I kept an absolute diary about when to take etc and this time I was fairly OK - had some symptoms like the flushes but this time they were bearable and of extremely short duration and eventually they stopped.
Good luck to anyone wishing to come off HRT. I did not know they did lower doses now and that might have been a better option for me had I known about them ten years ago.

Mishap Fri 26-Jul-13 16:32:41

Peoples' responses to the menopause vary - some suffer hardly at all and others have symptoms for the rest of their lives. My GP OH often tells me about women in their 80s who still had problems.

If it were not for advances in medicine and longevity we would not have the problem - adult women should be pregnant, breast-feeding or dead! - so few periods and definitely no menopause.

Interestingly there is a school of thought that says that women with severe menopausal symptoms need to be treated with testosterone.

I came off a mini dose of HRT by patch several years ago and life has been difficult ever since - giddiness is the worst symptom, with migraines and hot flushes. I am often tempted to just go back on it - I am 64 with normal BP and weight etc. But I do have a much younger sister who has had breast cancer twice, so that is a concern for us all.

Everyone is different, and HRT is a great trearment for some, relieving them of years of misery and giving them their lives back.

petallus Fri 26-Jul-13 16:40:16

I wonder if it is actually true that in bygone times women were either pregnant, breast feeding or dead, in other words died around 50.

Statistics on average life expectancy might include the high rate of infant mortality that we had in the past.

granjura Fri 26-Jul-13 17:08:42

I must say I am glad I put up with the menopause naturally. I would have been terrified of taking HRT with its possible serious effects.

JessM Fri 26-Jul-13 17:23:24

If they were dead after the menopause, why did the menopause evolve? Very few other animals have it. There is a perfectly valid theory the menopause evolved so that we could live long enough to bring up our last born and there could be..... fanfare of trumpets ...... GRANDMOTHERS who would help their daughter's offspring survive and share their wisdom.

Reddevil3 Sat 27-Jul-13 10:17:37

I believe there is evidence that HRT doesn't 'cause' breast cancer.
But breast cancer feeds off oestrogen so if there is a personal or family history of same, obviously HRT should not be taken.
This is how I understand it works so will continue with my Kliofem for as long as I can get it. I would rather take it and face minimal risks (with no personal or family histories) than suffer the awful symptoms which were ruining all aspects of my life. grin

JessM Sat 27-Jul-13 11:03:26

Some breast cancers grow faster in the presence of oestrogen. Not all. BC is not just one disease it is a whole bunch of different ones. I think these days you can have your lump tested to see if it was the oestrogen sensitive type.

Ariadne Sat 27-Jul-13 11:12:48

Mine was tested as oestrogen positive, which is why I wonder from time to time about the HRT. And I certainly wouldn't go near "natural" oestrogen these days. But then, there was the heavy duty contraceptive pill in our youth too....

I do not think I could have coped without HRT - the difference it made to my life and the way I felt was unbelievable.

Tegan Sat 27-Jul-13 11:59:36

Jess; what happens with other primates if they have a normal lifespan without environmental issues causing their early death in any way?

JessM Sat 27-Jul-13 12:41:49

Their offspring have shorter childhoods than ours Tegan and are able to climb trees etc from a very early age.
Also it is entirely possible that the survival rate of offspring born to different ages of animal mothers vary, particularly in intelligent animals with long lifespans like whales, elephants as well as primates. When mother young and inexperienced they can come to grief. When mother in prime they have their best chance of survival. When mother ageing, again survival drops.
Read something recently about the survival of young male adult orcas - in any year they are less likely to die if mum is still around in the pod.

JessM Sat 27-Jul-13 12:43:20

Here it is - and the mother orcas have a menopause.

www.bbc.co.uk/nature/19561076

Tegan Sat 27-Jul-13 12:53:30

I've long been fascinated by the matriarchal society of elephants [ever since watching, over a couple of decades, the lives of Echo and her family]. Damn; there was a programme recently about orcas in captivity and I must have missed it [as I did the programme about butterflies last night].

JessM Sat 27-Jul-13 19:54:44

Very sad when they are kept in captivity tegan. As Barbara Kingsolver points out, if you take an animal like that out of its environment and social group it does not really exist in any meaningful sense.

Tegan Sun 28-Jul-13 00:20:24

Thought I was going bonkers [no tv programmes about orcas] but then realised it's a documentary that's on in cinemas at the moment that I was thinking of. It's called 'Blackfish' and points out that there are no known cases of a human ever being killed by a killer whale in the wild; it only happens when they are kept captive.

Iam64 Sun 28-Jul-13 13:56:08

My mother and two of her friends bought HRT over the internet after their various GP's refused to continue to prescribe for them. Mum had gone through the menopause when she started HRT in her 50's, as had her pals. They were impressed by the tory politician (sorry, her name escapes me) who was such an hrt advocate. Mum eventually stopped taking it about 5 years before she died - she was 87 when she died, and always regretted coming off hrt because her energy levels, memory, arthritic pain etc all became an issue for her.
I have arthritis which went into overdrive when I stopped taking HRT. I am beginning to wish I hadn't stopped taking it. The possible side effects have to weighed against quality of life issues I believe

Tegan Sun 28-Jul-13 14:12:04

I know there have always been concerns over too much dairy in ones diet but recently read that problems can be caused by the amount of hormones found in dairy produce. Not sure of all the ins and outs of all this, but I have cut out a lot of dairy produce from my diet recently and am feeling a lot better [but could just be the sunshine and warmer weather]. Mind you, the NHS being what it is I'm sure that soon we'll find that HRT is, in fact, good for us and far outweights any problems it may cause.

JessM Sun 28-Jul-13 17:52:55

They banned hormones in dairy animals 20 years ago tegan and beef cattle as well https://www.gov.uk/cattle-health#hormonal-treatments-and-antibiotics-for-cattle.
I think dangers of dairy are a favourite theme with "nutritionists" and "naturopaths" and the like, without any evidence foundation.

Tegan Sun 28-Jul-13 18:00:15

Don't they have a lot of hormones cause they are always pregnant, though, and won't that be in the milk?

Bags Sun 28-Jul-13 18:44:02

Do milch-cows have to be always pregnant? Doesn't it work as in humans – so long as 'milking' takes place, the mammal will continue to produce milk? If that is the case, then once heifers have had their first calf, they can be milch-cows.

NfkDumpling Sun 28-Jul-13 19:45:39

I love HRT. I'm on a minuscule dose, but it keeps me on an even keel. I've tried to come off a couple of times, but my DH says I'm easier to live with when I'm taking it! I agree with him - without it I didn't like me either.

gingin Wed 31-Jul-13 22:17:00

For a natural way to help hot flushes associated with menopause take a handful of garden sage leaves. Put into a teapot and add 8 or 9 ounces of hot water. Let it steep for 10 mins and then drink it - you can sweeten it with some manuka honey if you like. Take this tea about 3 times a day and it will really help. Sage also helps with anxiety and stress.

Ariadne Thu 01-Aug-13 06:49:13

Oh, I do so hate sage! It has a nasty soapy taste. Almost as bad as celery.

Elenkalubleton Mon 12-Aug-13 18:37:25

Was on HRT for20 years,after being diagnosed with osteoporosis (I was told I could end up in a wheelchair) if I didnt take it.Came off it at 60,at doctors request.Am now 66 and the last six years have been hell.I am in good health and the flushes and sweats have lessened and are bearable.Sex is nowhere near as good since coming off HRT,dry uncomfortable and no desire what so ever,but now I've got terrible itching bits ,has anyone tried progesterone cream,does it stop the itching.My doctor seems reluctant to give me it,but i know you can buy it on line?Docs given me zinc caster oil cream,not much better.Any help would be Apprieciated.

Iam64 Mon 12-Aug-13 20:24:48

Sympathy from me - I came off HRT 8 years ago, after taking it for about 7 years. My previous GP recommended it as a bone protector, because I have inflammatory arthritis, which goes hand in hand with osteo arthritis. My new GP prescribed one of the progesterone creams, it did stop the itching and made life more comfortable. Unfortanately, I had a very small bleed so had to come off it - it's one of the possible side effects. It's good to see this subject being talked about. I'm with you on the impact on sex life

Reddevil3 Tue 13-Aug-13 09:25:18

Iam64 I agree with you wholeheartedly that the quality of life issues far outweigh the possible side effects, assuming a favourable family/personal history. And wonder upon wonders- my prescription for Kliofem is now repeat!! grin

Iam64 Tue 13-Aug-13 13:25:51

Fab Reddevil - I wonder how many other mavericks like my mum and her friends buy HRT over the internet when their doctors refuse to continue prescribing. I was with mum, aged 80 ish, when her new GP told her he wasn't prepared to continue to prescribe HRT. She told him he wouldn't dare refuse if she was Theresa gorman or Barbara Cartland. Once home, she phoned her pal, and added her order to the pal's internet list. When my sister's GP recommended she stop HRT, mum told her to take no notice, and said she had loads of spare - there it was, on the shelves in her kitchen cupboards, alongside the bottles of red wine......

Reddevil3 Tue 13-Aug-13 22:41:09

Good for her Iam64. She sounds as if she was a wonderful, independant woman who knew her own body. Also, it seems as if all those years on HRT didn't do her any harm, eh?
Theresa Gorman used to be my MP in the late 80s/ early 90s I think.
She was a very feisty woman- and as you say, I doubt if any GP would have --dared to--refused her requests!

Reddevil3 Tue 13-Aug-13 22:42:32

Sorry got the delete bit wrong

yummygranny Tue 24-Sep-13 18:47:40

I'm 66 and been on HRT for about 20 years. It's my intention to stay on it forever, but of course my doctor's now trying to get me off it. Personally, I believe the benefits outweigh the risks. Some of this thread has revealed absolute horror stories when coming off it and that is a risk I'm just not prepared to take. I'm full of energy, I'm still working, I don't have many aches and pains, I keep fit, am a healthy weight, my skin is good, my hair is shiny and the only time I see my doctor is for my annual HRT MOT, when she suggests I come off and I say I won't! Why on earth do I want to depress myself by getting hot flushes, putting on weight, getting migraines, a sore fanny and all the other miseries?! Surely, if you're not high risk e.g. no breast familial breast cancer etc. it should be OK. I just feel that medics think you shouldn't want to be firing on all cylinders after a certain age (of their choosing!) and therefore you should just put up with it, roll over and grow old. I'm all for the grans who buy it on the internet and, if I'm really pushed, I shall do that! I also, by the way, have suspicions that the word has gone out to get women over 60 off it because we cost the NHS too much with our free scrips - but then, how much more might we cost if we come off it?!

Kiora Tue 24-Sep-13 19:55:15

I was on hrt following a hysterectomy my early 40's. there was such a hullabaloo about 6 years ago around heart attack/stroke I came off it. At the time I had a terrible G.P so weaned my self off it slowly, and I mean slowly. Took me about 6-9 months. Now that might sound as if the misery is extended. But it was the best way for me my symptoms were really severe. 100 ml then 75 then 50 then 25. Then at the end I cut the patch into 4 used 3/4 then 1/2 then 1/4 then. At the very end I only changed the 1/4 every week rather than twice a week. Now at the end it may have been so little it was the placebo affect but it worked for me. I'm sure you could do the same sort of thing with tablets. What ever happens I wish her the best. It's awful but it does stop. But I hope you don't mind me saying this she has a wonderful empathetic daughter and that must make things easier. Good luck

nightowl Tue 24-Sep-13 20:17:31

I sympathise with anyone who needs to take HRT and recognise that it must feel like a lifesaver for those who have experienced severe effects following the menopause. But please, please can people consider the type of HRT they are prescribed carefully and avoid those such as Premarin which are produced from pregnant mares' urine. These mares suffer greatly to produce this, the conditions in which they are kept are inhumane and the collection methods are painful. The foals are often sent for slaughter and the mares themselves don't last many years in these conditions. I believe there are other synthetic forms of HRT which make this completely unnecessary.

Eloethan Wed 25-Sep-13 00:06:40

Thanks for that info nightowl - I'd never thought about the source of some of these HRT drugs. Just another example of the way animals are treated as "products" rather than living things. I actually saw a documentary a few years ago where a factory farmer referred to his animals as "the product".

I was fortunate enough not to have the hot flushes, headaches, etc., that many women experience, though I did have period-type, dull pain in back and legs almost constantly for about ten years. Perhaps HRT would have helped with that, and I understand how women would want to be free of horrible symptoms.

Surely around the age of 60, though, HRT should not be necessary, may be dangerous and therefore it's advisable to gradually come off it? I don't think it's good to take a drug indefinitely unless it's absolutely necessary to alleviate pain or very distressing symptoms.

yummygranny Fri 11-Oct-13 17:31:16

After recent reports that breast cancer risk is reduced by up to 55% in people who walk at least an hour a day (which I do - and also do a one hour workout) and that just 20 minutes a day can reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease, my daughter has pointed out that if I were to come off HRT there could well be a possibility that my energy levels would be reduced and I would no longer want or be able to exercise as much as I do now. Well, that's a conundrum then, isn't it? Is it possible that by coming off HRT and, by dint of that, having less energy, I could actually become more exposed to the very diseases my doctor thinks I am at risk of from being ON HRT!? Oyvay!!

NfkDumpling Fri 11-Oct-13 18:28:25

Nightowl I'm on Premarin. I've tried several synthetic alternatives like Climoval but they had awful side effects and didn't work for me. So reluctantly I went back to Premarin.

I'm now trying to cut down slowly, very very slowly, as the main reason for needing it was trying to cope with the needs of elderly parents - and I'm now an orphan. When this thread started I said I wasn't nice to know when I didn't take it, but I'd stopped quickly. Then my inner bitch had taken over, I had horrendous flushes, cold turns, dizzy fainting and terrible headaches, burst into tears. Couldn't cope. So far I've cut down by about a third and the only difference this time is my skin is looking a lot older - but that may be because I am (older!)

nightowl Sat 12-Oct-13 15:44:04

Sorry to hear that Nfk it sounds awful. And sorry to hear you're an orphan too, its a horrible feeling of loss isn't it? I just wanted to make sure people were aware of how Premarin is produced and that there are alternatives. We all have to do what we have to do when it comes to health flowers

Mishap Mon 04-Nov-13 19:56:31

Just bumping up this thread as I am sick and tired of feeling grim.

I had a hysterectomy at the age of 42 and I am now 65. From the age of about 50 to 60 or thereabouts, my menopausal symptoms were brilliantly controlled with the tiniest possible dose of oestrogen-only 25 mcg patch. I was then encouraged to stop and gradually withdrew the treatment bit by bit, cutting the patches into halves, as another poster has said.

Ever since I stopped I have had giddiness, migraines, headaches, chronic nausea, tiredness, weakness - and generally feeling seriously c**p for most of the time. I drag myself through each day and try to put a smiling face on it all, but I have really had enough now.

I have a sister who is much younger than me who has had breast cancer.

I really want to go back on the HRT - it is such a tiny dose - but I know that I will have to battle with my GP to get it. I have got to the point where the symptoms outweigh the risks as far as I am concerned. I cannot countenance continuing with this dragging misery that constitutes the majority of my life. Please do not think I am an old misery - these symptoms are truly life-wrecking. I am a positive and person with a sense of humour and do not expect life to be all jollity, but this is really too much, and it is interfering with every aspect of my life. Some days I feel as if life is closing down for me and I want to be out there enjoying myself and being of constructive use to my family, friends and community.

I am not depressed (fed up - but not clinically depressed) or anaemic and my thyroid function is normal.

I need some weapons in my armoury to tackle the GP.

Jendurham Tue 05-Nov-13 00:44:57

Mishap, have you tried agnus castus, or Agnacast?
It's a hormone regulator rather than HRT.
I think it's made by Gerard House, and it's probably still less than a tenner for 3 months supply.
I am a year younger than you, but in my fifties when I was having really heavy periods as well as lots of other problems, I started taking this, and it worked. I used to have to sit on the toilet overnight rather than go to bed - and that was when I was running a guest house, so I had to be up early to get breakfasts ready.
I was offered arachidonic acid by a gp., but the side effect was that it could cause sight complications, so I declined. Then someone told me about Agnacast, and it worked.
After a couple of years I stopped taking it, but then symptoms came back so I started taking it again. I gave up about four years ago, and have had no problems since.
It must be worth trying for three months to find out if it helps.

Jendurham Tue 05-Nov-13 00:47:42

By the way, both my sisters had early hysterectomies, but had problems of tiredness and headaches, etc. I told them about agnus castus, and it helped them. They are both younger than me, one ten years younger.

Mishap Tue 05-Nov-13 10:46:34

Thank you for the suggestion - I have to admit to being a bit wary of alternative medicine, but I am very grateful for the thought.

Jendurham Tue 05-Nov-13 11:16:35

If aspirin was discovered now, it would probably be called alternative medicine. Whoever thought of using willow bark to relieve headaches?

Mishap Tue 05-Nov-13 11:38:44

Indeed so!

Jendurham Tue 05-Nov-13 11:42:14

My husband was allergic to Aspirin. I am allergic to Ibuprofen. It affects my breathing. If I need a painkiller, I rub lavender oil into my temples. It works. It helps me sleep as well.

newist Tue 05-Nov-13 11:57:45

I shall try that, thanks Jendurham smile

JessM Tue 05-Nov-13 12:21:23

I'm with mishap in the sceptical camp. I had heavy pre-menopausal periods. i didn't take any herbal things and they went away within the year.
mishap don't let the GP do that "its your age" platitude. My MIL gets this all the time. Instead of saying "Your state of health does not allow us to operate" for instance, they say "It's your age Mrs S" .

Jendurham Tue 05-Nov-13 12:27:29

I think I'd rather have a herb than horse pee. I suffered from heavy premenopausal periods for over 5 years until I read about agnus castus.
My mother had had a hysterectomy, both my sisters had, and I was determined not to. I did not, and was pleased to have broken the family curse.

nightowl Tue 05-Nov-13 12:29:40

Lavender oil is a miracle substance. I use it on burns and it heals and soothes. I once used it on very painful operation cuts and they healed with barely a scar. It is one of the few essential oils that can be used neat on the skin. I would always try the simplest treatment first, for anything that wasn't life-threatening.

JessM Tue 05-Nov-13 12:38:30

Not sure this is helping mishap - I think she is after evidence of a scientific/medical nature that she can use in her conversation with her GP. Or personal experience of taking HRT some years after the menopause.

nightowl Tue 05-Nov-13 12:58:21

Just putting a different viewpoint Jess. I know nothing about scientific evidence re HRT that I could use to challenge a GP I'm afraid. I have been fortunate enough not to need it, but offer my commiserations to those that do.

Faye Tue 05-Nov-13 18:48:41

I agree with Tegan regarding milk. Added hormones may be banned but cows also have hormones. www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2006/12.07/11-dairy.html

celebgran Tue 05-Nov-13 20:35:59

Mishap fin that worrying ! I am 59 saw my gynaecologist today who thinks I should reduce dose of hrt ie cut patch in half! My gp thinks I should come off it as have felt unwell high blood pressure and breathlessness Chest xray clear and ECG ok having thyroid blood test fri the back gp next wed on dear.

celebgran Tue 05-Nov-13 20:37:08

Very sorry meant night owl feel worried I will get symptoms coming off hrt now! Been on it for 4 years since our family problems.

LesleyM Sun 05-Jan-14 10:05:44

Have just joined gransnet fab idea! Wondered if anyone knew about going back on HRT have just started again on elleste solo 1 mg but wondered how long it takes to get going again after an 18 month break? Any ideas advice would be helpful thanks LesleyM

TriciaF Sun 05-Jan-14 16:56:10

I don't know about over 60s, I'm well over 70 and have resumed Vagifem use because of recurrent UTIs due to vaginal dryness.
My doctor agrees it's perhaps better than regular doses of antibiotics, but sends me for annual checks for breast and uterine cancer.
When I restarted the beneficial effects were almost immediate. Also means marital rels are still possible (if you have the inclination. wink)
As someone wrote on another thread, at over 70 you don't mind so much taking risks.

LesleyM Thu 23-Jan-14 16:41:55

Only just seen this! Just a further question I am struggling to lose weight. On low carb with personal trainer love the exercise sessions weights and all sorts especially boxing. Still no weight loss any one find the same problem and will resuming HRT which I have done help at all.
Thanks lesley

Reddevil3 Fri 24-Jan-14 11:46:08

LesleyM it took me about a month or so to notice a significant improvement but don't think it will help your weight tho' I have tons more energy for exercising. Have you thought of trying the 5:2 diet? Working wonders for me. Good luck. PM me?

wisefox Tue 04-Feb-14 11:15:52

I'm new to this website so bear with me (not sure if I can mention brand names or not)!!

I've been reading the threads on HRT for the over 60s and want some advice. I've been taking Femoston 1/10 every other day for about 6 months now as I am 61 and think I should be coming off of it, but I am really worried that if I stop completely I may lose my hair, grow a beard and be all wrinkly! Is there a much lower dose HRT that I can consider asking for or is Femoston a low dose pill?

I'd love to carry on taking HRT for the rest of my life but think maybe this is not a good idea. There is no history of BC in my family at all.

Should I take Femoston 1/10 every 2 days, then every 3 days and see what happens - any thoughts? I'm inspired by the lady whose mother was 80 and still taking HRT until close to the end of her life (think I've got that right but can't find the right part of the thread to check!). Thanks.

youngatheart1947 Tue 08-Jul-14 16:25:10

I am 66 (67 this October) I have been on evorel sequi patches since I started the menapause in 1992, could not stand the hot flushes, within that time I have tried other forms of HRT but evorel sequi seems to be the best one for me, I use the combined patches 50 for 2 weeks changing twice a week then the conti again for 2 weeks changing twice a week where you get a period (bleed) . I missed 2 bleeds this year June and July , my Gp seems to think I need an ultrasound, but had one some months ago and all was ok , they do these 50 patches in 75ml and 100 ml. I suffer from Arthritis and fibromyalgia and HRT helps the pain , was reading , perhaps the reason I am missing bleeds is becouse I need to top up to either the 75 patch or the 100 patch to give me a higher input of the hormone, would I be more at risk of breast cancer at my age doing this?? I am going back to my Gp if I miss another bleed !! Anyone had the same happen to them?? This is my first time on this site

whitewave Tue 08-Jul-14 17:40:42

Well I took HRT as did my dear friend we are both 69 now so I reckon we took it in our early 50's.

We both subsequently had breast cancer, and my friend is terminally ill although doing fantastically well. So not sure if that is telling you anything!!!?? I am probably wrong and it isn't scientific.

grannyactivist Tue 08-Jul-14 17:48:14

My mother in law was on HRT for very many years, starting when she was still in her 50's, and she's in her late 70's now and perfectly healthy. I am still on a low dose and absolutely dread coming off the HRT and becoming menopausal again. My mother and sister both sailed through the menopause without any problem.

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