There’s been a lot of talk around the menopause recently
Though this attention has overwhelmingly been positive, the release of a widely publicised paper by The Lancet in late Summer has led to some confusion for both patients and doctors. Add to this the national shortage of some HRT that is compounding the general problem.
Whereas I’m a big advocate of a holistic well rounded approach, it’s important to understand that HRT can be a life saver and necessary in some women who have had earlier menopause, where their risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular problems is significantly higher, as well as earlier cognitive decline, unless HRT is used to help.
And then there are the many women who suffer from terribly debilitating symptoms of the menopause that affects not just themselves but also their relationships and ability to get on with normal activities. Having said that of course, each woman is individual with a different set of potentially complex factors that could affect her ability to have HRT or the preparation that it comes in.
Therefore this has to be discussed with a doctor.
The paper which reported on a rise in breast cancer with HRT has created a lot of reluctance from GPs and doctors to use it, which is understandable, but we have to put this into context, and whereas this risk must not be belittled or denied, we must appreciate it is small for most women and that other factors, such as consuming alcohol or being obese present bigger risks in themselves. Aside from which we have so many great more natural versions of HRT that will minimise the risk of complications.
The British Menopause Society recommend that women must be informed of the data on breast cancer risk with HRT to help them make an informed decision.
When it comes to fertility in the peri-menopause, this is a subject that doesn’t get a huge amount of discussion yet is becoming increasingly topical. I’ve just written an article for Woman & Home all about this and useful facts and options you need to consider.