Hi, I am looking for knowledgeable advice on a subject that has many opinions. I am 50. I became perimenopausal at age 39 and went on premarin for about 5 years with NO PROBLEMS. Periods ended, so I went on a low dose of HRT for 6 years...NO PROBLEMS. When my primary care physician realized I had been on hormones for about 11 years, she told me I should go off them. So I did. Within a month, hot flashes, dryness, poor sleeping. A couple of months later I went to my OBGYN for a routine visit. He couldn't understand why I went off the HRT, since I had been doing so well. I told him I was afraid of negative effects like heart problems or breast cancer. He respected my views, but I could tell he was disappointed that I "bought into propaganda."[my words, not his.] Now one year later, I've been sleeping very poorly, (my husband too as a result) I've been taking sleeping aids of all kinds, experiencing hot flashes almost hourly, taking evening primrose oil, black cohosh, every herbal that claims it alleviates hoys flashes... my arms have been going numb at night: carpal tunnel, my joints are archy--I just got a blood test to see if my Lymes disease is returning...you get the picture.
I just saw my OBGYN again. He told me my risk in taking low dose HRT is very minimal and he can see my quality of life has diminished A LOT...he pointed out that I am a healthy, energetic, slim, active, nonsmoking, non-drinking (well--too excess anyway), no family history of cancers or heart disease, so WOULD I WANT TO GO BACK ON THE HRT? i AM REALLY THINKING ABOUT DOING IT. Can anyone tell me why I shouldn't? I can think of many reasons why I want to. He said in my case the only reason NOT to go back is it is not a politically correct choice. Is he right?
I just want to be my old self again. I would like to hear pros and cons. I'll be making this decision within a week or two.
Thanks so much,
Perimenopause hit me hard last year at age 47. Actually I'd been having symptoms for about 7-8 years, just didn't realize or associate it with menopause because I thought I was too young.
My mother had breast cancer (and is a survivor) as a result of taking HRT - she had a hysterectomy in her early 40's. So I can tell you that synthetic hormones were not going to be in my future. I also believe that because I was on the birth control pill for most of my adult life, that it has affected my hormones at this time of my life in a negative way. I read about and did research on bioidentical hormones and sought out a doctor who treats with them. In your search for the right path for you, you might consider this option.
I have been on low-dose Levlite bcp since 47, when symptoms of perimenopause started making me miserable. Last year, at 50, I decided to stop taking them and tough it out. After one month being off, I started them again. Without them my symptoms were similar to yours and my quality of life was suffering. That is a big reason to be on HRT- improved quality of life. Compare your life now with your life when you were on HRT. I know there are no clear answers whether to take hrt, but you doc pointed out that you don't have any risk factors that would contraindicate using it. Just my two-cents.
Hello, Katidid and MonicaFaye,
I really appreciate your posts and two cents. I'm still completely on the fence. Katitdid, glad your mother is a survivor. I am wondering how they know that her breast cancer was caused by the hormones...is there a clear indication or suspicion that it might be? I have a few books out of the library now to read more on the subject so I'm uneducated at the moment on the subject. I will ask my GYN about the biohormones you mentioned.
MonicaFaye, I'm glad to know that going back on HRT was a positive experience for you so quickly. I really appreciate the comments. Hope to hear more from others. Enjoy the day!
Yes, my mother was told that her breast cancer was directly related to taking estrogen. She can NEVER take it again. I was also talking to a new Gyn a couple of years ago and while going over my chart, she asked about my mother's breast cancer and if was related to HRT. I said that I was pretty sure it was. She asked me if she took the drug Tomoxafin (sp?) during her treatment and I said "yes". She said that indicated that it was HRT related. She took estrogen for many years, as I mentioned, because she had a hysterectomy at such a young age. Not trying to scare you off. Maybe your risks will be less for short term use.
My MIL had breast and uterine cancer in her late 60's. She was still on HRT at the time her cancers were found. Had been on HRT since her 50's. I was in the room the day the oncologist told her the cancers were from being on HRT too long. The HRT stimulated growth of abnormal cells in her uterus and breast. She had several surgeries, radiation, chemo but came out fine. When I asked her why she took the HRT for so long she said she tried to stop but the hot flashes and anxiety were too much for her when off HRT. Doctor kept giving it to her. I really think the HRT is fairly safe if not used for extended periods of time. I am sure she wishes she would have toughed it out after stopping the HRT at reasonable length of time. Just our experience. Ann
I am reading your comments and suggestions with care. Thanks for the additional information, Katidid. One thing I didn't mention before was the fact that I've been on BCPs from the time I was 21, until I became peri around 40, then on PremPro, then PremPhase, then FemHRT until last year. That's almost 30 years. I seem to be very healthy, except for the hot flashes and achy joints. Maybe I better not push my luck by going back on the HRT at this point....still reading your comments and looking for time to read my library books on the subject. Thanks again, Byrd
I tried posting a looong response yesterday, but the system timed out and my wonderful prose was lost in the ether -- I think that's a sign, so I'll make this one a bit shorter! :-)
My doctor says that as long as my twice-yearly checkups come back fine (including ultrasound to make sure that my fibroid myoma isn't growing), AND I haven't any of the risk factors, then there is theoretically no reason that I cannot continue taking hrt for the next few decades (I#m currently 57 and started meno symptoms at the age of 39).
The key here is that I have no risk factors AND I'm getting twice-yearly checkups -- so that there is a chance that the decision to continue could change at any time, but in the meantime I'm getting the benefits of low-dosage patch hormones and not having to deal with meno crappy symptoms.
Remember, when the doctor is paying attention to who should and who should not be getting the hormones in the first place, millions of women have gotten relief from them.
I would never try to tell you what to do with your body, but I came to menopause right at the time the stuff hit the fan about HRT. My response was to take nothing. I suffered for several years and when most of the misery was over, I discover that your hormones regulate everything in your body, (not just fertility) and my cholesteral is through the roof, my thyroid is on strike, all because of menopause. Like Katidid, I started on bio-identical hormones. I just picked up my second months cream today and I can tell I already feel better. I am waiting until I have been on it six months before I get my tests repeated. I live in a very small rural community and I was amazed to find our tiny pharmacy compounds hormones. The pharmacist herself uses them and promise's me big things from them. You may want to check into them. They are not expensive. There are no side effects. Good Luck to you whatever your decision.
Hi Byrdcall, I just DID restart my HRT just recently. I'm 53 and had been taking them for almost 4 years. Now I had spent a good two years or more researching all the pros and cons on HRT before I even started my menopause and I made a very informed decision to NEVER NEVER take them because of all I read and as there is Breast Cancer history on my Mom's side but when I entered full blown menopause I lost myself with the unbearable anxiety and depression not to mention the hot flashes. I was falling deep into despair when I made the choice to give the HRT a try and once they kicked in I really did get my life back. That was 4 years ago.
Just a few months ago I took myself off of them as I had been experiencing tightness in the calves of my legs and getting Nasty charlie horses in them which I've never ever had before(except during childbirth). Now I'm not sure if the HRT was the cause of them or not but I thought maybe it was time to come off of them. Probably a few weeks later I started noticing hot flashes over coming me and BANGO, I began with the same inner feelings as before. Crying for what I don't know????? Anxiety I don't know why????? Lost all energy in my body.... I was losing myself again. So I decided I wanted 'Myself' back again and went back on the HRT and I am now feeling like 'Me' . That was almost three weeks ago but the last two days I've been noticing the calves of my legs are feeling on the tight side again.
I have an appointment with my Doc on Monday and will discuss this.
That's my story and for me it's right for now.
You will come to the decision that will be right for You too.
I have searched out this site for this exact reason !!!! Went on HRT at 40 and had no problems.....happy healthy and full of life. Came off 6mths ago on the advice of a new doctor.....noiw feel about 90!!! 3-4hrs sleep a night , weight gain, fatigue, deopression etc,etc!
As I foster my 8yr grandson who has ADHD, Non verbal learning disabilities and Sensory integration dysfunctions I need to have my wits about me and lots of energy !!! Any ideas, thoughts, complimentary remedies (that work!! ) would be appreciated.
It amazes me how none of us know each other, but we are all experiencing the same thing. I felt like all this weird stuff was just happening to me. Now I see we are all in this bag to one degree or another. I've never had the calf pains before, luckily. I did see that someone else posted a line of inquiry regarding calf pain, though. I have still not decided to go back on HRT yet. I have been feeling a little better and I'm hoping the worst has passed, but then there are all these other things that don't seem related that "just happen to be occuring" and are taking my attention: carpal tunnel in both arms, a cold that won't go away, now a sore throat and swollen lymph nodes. This I must take care of ...or would the HRT make me "all better"..I doub it, but life sure was simple, easy, and oh so healthy on HRT...or maybe I was just setting myself up for major collapse once I went off. Keep sharing ladies, this is fascinating and very helpful...hopefully for you all too....Byrd