Heart BurnHeart Burn: Free advice – ask me today!
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By Dr Helen Webberley MBChB MRCGP MFSRH | GMC no. 3657058
I am a GP and a sexual health and hormone specialist. I can give advice on any medical matter, and I offer safe access to medical advice, prescription medication, blood tests and x-rays, and specialist referrals to your local private hospital as needed.
Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment used to relieve symptoms of the menopause. It replaces female hormones that are at a lower level as you approach the menopause.
Many women these days are not offered HRT by their GPs, even though it is recommended for all women who have gone through the menopause before the age of 50. It is usually very safe for women up until the age of 60, and often over the age of 60 if they are still having troublesome symptoms. Symptoms of the menopause can cause misery to millions of women (and their partners!) and can be very safely treated with modern HRT.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the menopause?
Symptoms of the menopause.
- hot flushes
- night sweats
- vaginal dryness
- loss of libido (sex drive)
- stress incontinence (leaking urine when you cough or sneeze)
- bone thinning – which can lead to osteoporosis and fractures
Ways of Taking HRT
- cream – applied to the vaginal area
- tablets – which can be taken by mouth
- a patch that you stick on your skin
- an implant – under local anaesthetic, small pellets of oestrogen are inserted under the skin of your tummy, buttock or thigh
- oestrogen gel – which is applied to the skin and absorbed
Who Should Have HRT?
- All women under 50 who have gone through the menopause should be encouraged to use HRT.
- In women under 60 suffering with the symptoms of the menopause, the benefits of HRT usually outweigh the risks.
- The upper age limit should be based on symptoms and not set at an arbitrary level. If the symptoms persist then again the benefits usually outweigh the risks.
Who Can't Take HRT?
- a history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer or womb cancer
- a history of blood clots
- a history of heart disease or stroke
- untreated high blood pressure – your blood pressure will need to be controlled before you can start HRT
- liver disease
- abnormal bleeding down below that has not been investigated
Potential Side Effects of HRT
- fluid retention
- breast tenderness or swelling
How Can I Get HRT?
Oestrogen Only HRT
For women who have had a hysterectomy or have a Mirena coil fitted, the oestrogen only method is most suitable. This can be in pill, gel or patch form.Some women choose to just have oestrogen cream to use down below, and this can help enormously with vaginal dryness and painful sex.
If you still have a womb then you need to have some progesterone to protect the lining of the uterus. For women who have only just gone through the menopause or who are still having some periods, the sequential HRT is better and gives regular periods for a year or two.
For women who have a womb but have finished going through the menopause and periods have stopped, a continuous combined preparation is best. This gives the necessary oestrogen, plus progesterone to protect the womb, but doesn’t cause you to have periods.
Safe, real prescriptions for HRT.
Whether you know which HRT suits you best or whether you need advice on what you should take,
ask me here about safe prescriptions for hormone replacement therapy.
FSH – follicle stimulating hormone – is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain to push the ovaries into producing oestrogen. Around and after the menopause, FSH increases as the pituitary has to work harder to produce enough oestrogen. A simple and effective test for menopause.
A direct measure of how much oestrogen you have circulating. This is a good test to see if your dose of HRT is right, and also to check on your own natural levels. Too little estradiol (oestrogen) causes the classic menopausal symptoms we know about.
FSH, LH, estradiol, AMH, progesterone, testosterone. A complete reproductive hormone check. AMH checks ovarian reserve of eggs. Testosterone can be low with low libido and sex drive.
Contact me now for advice, prescriptions, blood tests and referrals.
Please note that this service does not aim to replace advice given to you by your own doctor, it is meant to supplement your health knowledge and awareness.
It is never to be used in the case of a medical emergency.
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