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Menopause Q&A with Dr Rosemary Leonard

(60 Posts)
LaraGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 09-Mar-17 08:34:35

What are the pros and cons of HRT? How do you tackle sex after the menopause? And what alternative remedies are out there? We're delighted to welcome back women's health expert Dr Rosemary Leonard who'll be answering your questions on this and more.

Dr Rosemary Leonard's work as a consultant to national television, radio and newspapers makes her one of the country's best-known doctors. She has been the resident doctor on BBC Breakfast, and also writes a weekly page for the Daily Express and a weekly column in S Magazine. She is the medical editor and regular feature writer for Woman and Home magazine. Rosemary was awarded an M.B.E. for her services to healthcare in the New Year's Honours List, 2004. Her new book Menopause - The Answers is out now.

Please add your questions to the thread by 23rd March. We've got two copies of her latest book to give away to posters chosen at random.

Liz46 Thu 09-Mar-17 10:30:29

I started on HRT when I was in my forties after a hysterectomy. My main problem was and is hot flushes. I am 70 now and have tried to give up the patches (Evorel 25) several times. The last time I stopped them I went Christmas shopping in Liverpool. I was carrying parcels and had a dreadful hot flush and panicked. I had nowhere to put the parcels as the shop I was in was very full of stock and I HAD to get my coat off.

I'm back on the patches but still wake up with hot flushes. They are so bad that if my husband happens to touch my arm, he notices it is sweaty and there is a river between my boobs.

My problems started after I had children and I ended up with endometriosis.

PamelaJ1 Thu 09-Mar-17 12:42:55

I always said I'd be on HRT till I died but then the manufacturer stopped producing my pill. I was prescribed a different one, started bleeding so had a go at going cold turkey. I got really dry then, bought something called sylk but it didn't seem to work very well.
Next step was Evorel conti patches. Are they the same as yours Liz? Can't see 25 on the pack. I have been on them about a year but I started feeling nauseous so thought it may be the patches so I'm off again. Hello hot flushes almost immediately but the dryness hasn't really got going yet. When it does what can I do?
I am 64, been on hrt since I was 53 no other health problems at all. As I have sailed through life without any medical concerns I AM TAKING THIS PERSONALLY AND AM VERY CROSS😡

Liz46 Thu 09-Mar-17 15:02:58

Pamela, I don't have any ovaries so am able to just have oestrogen. If I could, I would be back on the maximum dose! After years of awful hassle with my hormones, it was wonderful to be the same all the time and I felt really well.
I started off with a huge cyst on one of my ovaries and a couple of years later had everything else removed because of the endometriosis. It was good riddance to it all.
I have some trouble with dryness too.

grannypiper Thu 09-Mar-17 15:57:23

Six months after my hysterectomy last year i gave in and started HRT, 3 weeks or so ago suddenly entered my head that maybe after having a DVT many yearss ago that maybe i shouldnt be taking HRT. My poor Doctor was horrified i told him about the DVT and took them off me. Now i am sat here waiting on the dreaded hot flushes returning.

newnanny Fri 10-Mar-17 19:52:08

I am 55 years old haven't had period now for about 17 months. I have had a few hot flushes but as over winter not too bad. My problem is my sex drive is nil. I use gel but just don't feel any desire for sex. I used to have amazing orgasms but now nothing. I also feel very tired and fall asleep for about 40 mins on days I don't work. My hair and skin is also much drier but I can manage this with Dove and moisturizer. I have never tried HRT but should i go to doc and ask to try it. DH thinks i should.

newnanny Fri 10-Mar-17 19:55:26

Forgot to add I now sometimes cry and don't know why really. I know everyone has to get older but somehow it feels like a shock as I always had a lot of energy and sex drive before.

heatherjw Fri 10-Mar-17 20:21:52

I have had night sweats fir the past 12 years, meaning that I rarely sleep for longer than 90-120 minutes at a time before being woken up by hot flushes. My family have a history of breast cancer and so hrt was not really an option. Other than generally feeling tired all the time and mire recently male pattern hair loss, my menopausal symptoms are manageable. I had hoped symptoms would reduce over time, but there is no sign of improvement, yet!
My menopausal

justrolljanet Fri 10-Mar-17 21:49:51

Do you think there is a link between an under active thyroid and the menopause, my thyroid is just about struggling along, I am 63 this year and had my last period at 52, the symptoms seem very similar.

icanhandthemback Fri 10-Mar-17 21:59:41

If you are having hot flushes, it could be that your blood sugars are too high or you are just overweight. I had a radical hysterectomy about 7-8 years ago but before that, I went to the Dr's to complain about the hot flushes. They did hormone tests, told me I was still a little way off menopause but they would send me to a specialist because I was also struggling with memory. I got quite annoyed when he said I was getting overheated because I was overweight (I didn't think I was that big) and suggested that I was also insulin resistant. Sure enough, I lost weight, started metformin and the hot flushes stopped. In fact, for the first time in years I started wearing a coat and had to wrap up warm at night. Sadly, I wasn't able to keep the weight off and I find the diabetes difficult to control so even though I am on HRT, I still struggle with being too hot and night sweats.

Liz46 Sat 11-Mar-17 06:41:16

I am 10st 9lb and 5' 6". Maybe cuddly but not overweight so I don't think that is causing my problems.

anita68 Sat 11-Mar-17 14:48:47

I have been going through the menopause for the last 5 years, I'm 48, the night sweats can happen during the day with puddles between my breasts. I'm happier as the last year my heavy periods which lasted up to 3 weeks have stopped, but with occasional spotting I feel better. I take Thiamin and Evening Primrose Oil and as I am used to sweats, acne flair ups I'd rather continue without HRT as a day will come and you stop and the joys or miseries of Menopause come back with a vengeance

gettingonabit Sat 11-Mar-17 19:35:20

Hi Dr Rosemary.

I was refused HRT six years ago. I was getting severe hot flushes and very fatigued all the time. The Doc (male) said I should "put up with it". I feel better now on the whole, the flushes have pretty much gone away, but I'm still lacking in energy and have overactive bladder, which is a nuisance.

I'm wondering whether to approach the doc again. Is it too late now, though? I'm 57, in good health, normal weight and fairly active.

Thanks in advance.

Dyffryn Sun 12-Mar-17 10:21:17

I would like to know how long you can stay on HRTI am 61. I am on Premarin which suits me very well, I have 1 and a half tablets a day. I have been on HRT for about 15 years following a hysterectomy at 40. I did try coming off it a couple of years ago. I could cope with the hot flushes but I became very anxious and did not feel myself so I went back on it. Even on HRT I have terrible dryness. A friend recently died of a DVT at 55 and it has made me question whether I should continue to take it. Any advice greatfully received.

Mistyfluff8 Sun 12-Mar-17 17:45:42

I went quickly through the menopause 42 so went onto HRT and after a HRT medication change a few years later I suffered hearing loss .I was not informed about any side effects

CassieJ Sun 12-Mar-17 17:50:16

I started going through the menopause when I was 46, I am now 58.
I must admit I haven't had many problems. In the early days I had a few hot flushes and night sweats, and did get irritable. But on the whole these were manageable.

My doctor did put me on HRT, but it doesn't work for me. It makes me bleed constantly! I have tried various ones and they all do the same. I then gave it up and haven't been on it for over 10 years.

I would like to know why this is as I have never come across anyone else that has this problem. The doctors don't seem to know the answer either.

Reddevil3 Mon 13-Mar-17 09:49:34

I am sure I have posted before about my relationship with HRT.
I think I started trying patches (which fell off) at about 50 at the advice of a gynacological friend to start whilst still menstruating so that my oestrogen levels didn't deplete completely.
I was eventually introduced to Kliofem which I think I have been taking for 20 years now. There was horrible time when a temporary GP refused to give it to me with distastrous consequences, hot flushes, memory loss, tearing during sex despite using lubricants etc.
But I moved so all ok since.........

Boysareus Mon 13-Mar-17 10:37:30

I'm 68 and had my last period at about 54. I had horrendous menopausal symptoms - flushes, sweats but worst of all panic attacks. Nearly had to give up my job as it involved public speaking. Tried all kinds of het settled on mirena loop with patches - and felt amazing. But 10 years on GP said enough - but I didn't realise that afterwards all the symptoms still come back. 5 years on and I still have flushes but much less. Avoiding alcohol (which I don't want to!) helps. I'd go back on hrt in a flash if I thought there was little risk.

nancytownsend Mon 13-Mar-17 10:42:54

Having a doctor phobia, I am unable to get on an HRT programme. When the hot flushes got too difficult to cope with I went to Holland and Barrett where they suggested I start taking Evening Primrose Oil and Soya Isoflavones. The hot flushes ceased almost immediately which is great and I have been taking the supplements for years now.

However, my moods are all over the place. I don't know if this is due to the menopause or SAD. Is/are there any supplement/s which could possibly help with this?

lolarabbit Mon 13-Mar-17 11:19:28

Is black cohosh considered to be effective for menopause symptoms, especially temperature control/flushing? Suggested by GP but just in terms of 'some people say this helps'. I'm dreading return of warmer weather as an unheated bedroom/thin duvet through the winter have meant I've been sleeping better for a few months...

Chrishappy Mon 13-Mar-17 11:37:45

Had total hysterectomy at 38 and was given premarin with excellent results. Twice I've tried to come off, the longest time was for 16 mths, my symptoms of flushes, night sweats stress and lack of sleep just got progressively worse not better, I've gone back on it as life was becoming unbearable i was in a permanent hot lather even wearing natural fiber's and having just a sheet on the 65 this year and worried my GP at sometime might want me off it and i just couldn't go back to the way i was!!!

Pocketmum Mon 13-Mar-17 21:48:48

Hoping for advice on menopausal symptoms for 8 years now. I have hot flushes, night sweats causing lack of sleep and therefore fatigue during the day, anxiety, low mood and crying episodes. I have been advised to avoid HRT due to a strong family history of breast cancer, mother and sister had breast cancer.
I have tried Livial however experienced severe headaches on this.
I sometimes feel so awful,and some days are a real struggle to get through. It is as though part of me has gone and I just want to feel well again. Help!
I go to the gym regularly and love Yoga and walking.

Moocow Mon 13-Mar-17 22:43:10

Thinning hair is my main concern just now. I see so many recommendations for things and have reluctantly started trying them but of course they are very expensive and are making no difference. Any hat or other advice would be gratefully received! Failing that hot flushes, lack of drive and sleep patterns

Dannydog1 Tue 14-Mar-17 07:41:39

I am Sixty-three and my periods stopped about ten years ago.
I have never had HRT and coped with most symptoms OK.
Dryness however is a different matter. I tried cream from doctors a few years ago without success and now have lost all confidence and sex is of the agenda,

gillybob Tue 14-Mar-17 08:33:00

I have been having horrible menopausal symptoms including hot flushes and night sweats for over 2 years now and eventually persuaded my GP to prescribe me a very low dose of HRT (PREMPAK-C 0.625 mg/0.15mg) which incidentally costs me just over £16 equal to 2 x the normal prescription charge, which is a lot of money to me and I wonder why this is? HRT has virtually stopped the day time hot flushes and the night sweats are no where near as bad as they were however the other symptoms are much as they were. My hair is falling at an alarming rate, my skin is as dry as sticks, I feel very down and often cry at the drop of a hat. I am tired and irritable and am bleeding every month for 7days without fail. So it's a case of do I continue with the HRT to alleviate the night sweats and hot flushes or try to put up with them in the hope that if I stop taking them the bleeding will eventually stop ? Maybe I am on the wrong dosage but it took me so long to get my GP to agree to any HRT and I feel like he might stop them altogether if I complain about the other symptoms.