HRT- when to start with it????

Posted , 6 users are following.

Ok, I am 41 years "old" and one of the unfortunate to go through menopause early...

I skipped periods in late 2012 upon which I went to see a GP and we did a bloodtest which revelaed a FSH of 110 (he didnt think anything of it...). I had an uterine poly so I saw a Gyno who removed it and that one said I might be in perimenopause...- ok....mmhhh. So I continued on with life, having bouts of anxiety, feeling a bit bloated with fluid retention, putting on weight etc...

In May/ June I started to feel progressively worst, mainly anxiety wise...I started to get brain fog, dizzyness, feeling slugish etc which made my anxiety even worst. Thats when I started to see a Psychologist as really I didnt think it had to do with hormones as such ( I was prone to anxiety before).....I was on a AD that time also but I ditched it after 5 years as seriously the AD didnt do anything opposite, I found it made my confusion with brain fog even worst...

I found then a new GP in June also, who did the full blood test which revelaed my progesterone was down to 1. FSH 75. So she gave me a progesterone cream in order to protect the uterus and getting regular bleeds. Well that worked for 4 cycles, but with the last 2 I started to feel even worst...just a general feeling of not being well, tired, very sleepy, anxious, brain fog etc...

So in November we checked FSH/ Oestrogen and Progesterone again. FSH went up to 110/ Progesterone gone up to 11 as well but Oestrogen dropped to 80 (lutheal phase). - So I figured my worsening is due the Oestrogen drop...

My GP suggested to keep up the Progesterone Cream, and gave me an AD again..(I havent filled it as it is Paxil and I read its bad withdrawal effects...). I told her that I think I dont need the AD just yet, but maybe Oestrogen??? On which she stated that HRT ususally isnt given until a woman has not had the period for 12 months as the hormones are still spiking....

Now I wonder about the ladies on here, when did you start HRT? And also, do you use synthetic or natural? I know that yes, generally let nature let its course...but with 41 I feel I am too young for that. I think in my case it might be wise to go and use some sort of HRT (as low dose as possible to counteract some of the symptoms and health problems) for maybe another 4-5 years.

I am just confused now as to why my GP said to wait until all is over...Surely one can go on HRT if still in the perimenopausal stage (according to having bleeds still anyway)?

Thanks smile

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Manuel,

    So sorry to hear that you are having a rough time but so pleased that you have found this forum as I know you will get some much needed answers to your questions.

    In Nov 2012 I must have started this horrible journey (but not knowing it at the time), as mine started with a real strange worry over a illness that a friend of mine had been told he had. He was the same age as me and then in time I convinced myself I had the same. 

    My periods have been a 25 day cycle for a very long while and for me didn't cause me any problems, ie pmt, anxiety. My periods have gone through stages of being very heavy for the first few days, then light, clotty but again no real concerns. In Nov 2012 I ended up with a very long period and then started again by the begin of Dec. I was very moody at this time, and when my period arrived this time unlike normal months I didn't feel bright but felt very low (not anxiety) and this stayed with me for a little while. My period in Jan 13 should have arrived on the 17th but didn't arrive but strangly enough felt fine no pmt, no lowness, no usual pmt headache/earache. Then the morning of the 25 Jan I woke up feeling really tearful, nauseous, shaky, no appetite, but felt a real heaviness of real doom and gloom but not sure over what other than I didn't feel my normal bright cheery self. This feeling became worst as I then felt I couldn't go into our office (we run our business from home) so I shut myself in our bedroom and stayed in bed and scanned the internet for answers to these feelings which got me further into anxiety as all sorts came up, this went on until the 7 Feb 13. During this time. I went to the doctors as I thought I had bowl cancer as I had a bleed when I had to the toilet, she was happy that there wasn't anything to worry about but suggested that I had some blood test done to make sure everything was ok. I worried myself the whole weekend that something terrible would be found once the results came in but thankfully all were normal, but during this week I booked myself in for a Bupa complete health check as I read that you would get the results that same day so at least this would hopefully stop my concerns. Heart, lungs, massive amount of different bloods done, smear, breast checked, overlies etc all thankfully came back fine. Finally my period arrived on the 7 Feb and this mood of doom and gloom feeling lifted and I felt my old happy self had returned. These feelings did come back 3 more times during this year when I finally went back to another GP who I had been told was really good with ladies things, during this time she kindly listened to all of my experiences and suggested that perhaps HRT was worth considering to get me through these difficult times. At the time I was dead against it and like you used the progesterone cream which helped for about 3 months but then my Mum started causing trouble which in turned stressed me out so the cream stopped helping me. Finally in March this year I decided to give HRT a go, by then I had all the checks, like mammograms smears, ovarian bloods and thought I could start with peace of mind that all was ok. There have been a few changes to the types which I have tried and have finally stuck with the patches which give you a monthly bleed (and they don't go through the liver) and seem to be the kinder ones. Like you I was still having periods but not every month but the reason my doctor had suggested giving it a go was to help balance my hormones out and to take away the high and lows which I was so badly having. 

    It has been trial and error but haven't had any more episodes of these two weeks or so of doom and gloom, may still have the odd day of feeling flat but haven't really missed work either this year. Overall I feel that HRT has been my life savior as my general personally is of a happy nature and I was really struggling with these very low cycles before hand and truly didn't recognize the person I had become. 

    I also take the usual vitamins suggested on this forum and do believe these have also helped to my well being. 

    Being so young Manuela HRT will help protect your bones as well and once you find the one that works for you you will start to feel more balance again. I know others will say that once you come off them you will encounter all these peri symptoms all over again but for me I wanted to enjoy my life now whilst I was young enough, again it is all our own personal choice and only you can make that decision. 

    I hadn't ever tried antidepressants nor have I wanted too (doctors have suggested this a few times) but as I haven't suffered with anxiety prior to 2012 I felt I wanted to find other ways to get me through this time. My bloods didn't confirm peri or menopause as I was still haven't periods and hadn't done a full year without any. Also from what I understand they are not conclusive and most GP go on your current symptoms and try and help accordingly. 

    The things that have also helped me are taking magnesium tablets a long with using a magnesium spray which has helped in relaxing me. Busy B's from holland and Barrett, menopol plus(simply supplements) B12 5000 from Amazon, have all helped a long with regular acupuncture.

    Massive hugs to you Manuela and good luck in finding what works for you and please remember when you have an off day then come back on here and talk to us all and I can promise you you will find a great deal of comfort from this as things start to make sense in what you are experiencing.

    love Joy xxxcheesygrin


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    • Posted

      Hi 'Joy'

      Loved reading your reply to manuela 67667. Great advice.

      Just found this site and joined Xmas Eve:  great to share experiences, get advice, or just 'let off steam' to those in the know!!

      Yep. You're right about maintaining this young woman's bone health.  I'm 54 and feel very grateful, knowing what I was doing at 41, I'm so glad to have not being going through all this at that age!

      Happy New Year to you

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    • Posted

      Hi Joy.

      I can so relate to your post.  That has been me down to the finer point. I have tried the cream, implanon in the arm, antidepressants (still on) a variety of vitamin programs, naturopaths, psychiatrist, councelling .......  The roller coaster is getting worse.  What patches are you on Joy?  Will the bleeds eventually stop or will you have them the whoe time you are on HRT?  So many questions in my mind!!  So Scary. 

      Raelene xxxx


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    • Posted

      Hi Raelene,

      My patches are Evorel Sequi which give you a monthly bleed. As I was still peri this is why you are put on this type to protect your uterus by giving this bleed. I was told that I could stay on HRT for 5 years (I will be then 56). The bleeds are much lighter and for only about 4 days. On occasion I was offered SSRIs and was told that these were often offered a long side HRT to help with the lows. I haven't gone down that route but that was my personal choice and I guess because I have regular acupuncture this helps keep me in balance especially through my anxious times. It is very calming and also helped when other issues arise like when my tummy plays up or I have had sinus problems, or I just need a good nights sleep or to feel up lifted.

      You may still encounter blips as your own hormones will still being produced at the same time of taking the HRT but I can honestly say that compared to what I encountered in 2012 my life is a lot better. 

      Like most ladies I am sure all I want is to get this horrid journey over and done with so that I can go back to enjoying life completely without always these thoughts on when my next blip may come by and take another part of me.

      If I am right I think after a couple of years being on the HRT that gives you a bleed you can be given a choice to go on the ones that don't give you one, but not too sure to be honest when this can be done. You can ask that question when you see your doctor.

      Always happy to share my experiences as like everyone on this forum I have found it such a godsend because most general GP don't seem to really know the correct path to put us and it's only when I visit this site and read everyone's different experiences you finally realize that this is quite common and for me has made it less scary.

      Massive hugs and go with your gut feeling with what you think will help you in the long run, quality of life is the most important factor during this phase of our lives.

      Joy xxx😘🌹

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  • Posted

    Sorry Manuela, in my reply it should have read Ovaries and not " Overlies" . 

    One thing I would suggest before making another appointment I would ask your doctors surgery reception which GP would they think would be good in regards to talking through things about the menopause and this way you will get your much needed help sooner rather later.



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  • Posted

    hiya manuela.  I've sort of convinced myself that this is it, and it may get a little bit worse before I finally bid a farewell to that bloody curse!  But the truth is I've literally just turned 54 and I'm still regular as clockwork!!  One of my sister's was in proper menopause at my age:  she's been on HRT for the past 8yrs = loves it.  We had a good laugh as she had attempted to come off of it, with disasterous results for anyone in her immediate radar!!  Whack! Straight back on it, thankfully.  Her GP - the brave, or foolish woman, we can't decide! - suggested she come off of it for good now.  Lets just sister has a big grin on her face, and a renewable prescription for HRT when she eventually left the consultation room!! 

    In my heart of hearts I believe that someday very soon I'll be taking HRT, definitely for the sake of my bone health.  My late, dear mum had TB in the gones and 3 hip replacements after having 5 kids (all 4'10" of her!), so I think I seriously have to consider HRT for that alone.

    Think the reply from 'snatchpiece/Joy' to you is great advice!!


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  • Posted

    Hello manuela67667, I had a hysterectomy when I was 40 but only started with menopause symptoms two years ago, I didn't realise that after 5 years my ovaries started to die so it must of been about another couple of years for my hormone levels to start to wither away and menopause to start kicking in....

    Not a clue what was going on I thought I was dying with everything happening to my body.... Dizziness, crying, chest pains, hot flushes, anxiety, panic attacks, palpitations,  headaches from hell, so tired all the time but couldn't sleep for my heart racing when I was asleep... My god I was so tired I could've crawled into bed and never got up again, my poor hubby must be sick of me checking my blood pressure all the time because it's up and down so much, I keep panicking that I'm gonna have a stroke or heart attack, all the heart palpitations and missed beats and then it's racing... I don't know how I'm not driving myself mad with worry!!!

    I've tried the HRT but decided after just three weeks of extremely sore boobs just to give it a miss and go back to natural/herbal route...

    I can't say I feel good because I don't but I'm sort of coping day to day.

    I think the hrt route is a personal choice, some love it some don't, it depends on how much you're suffering whether you want to give it a go...

    Anyway hope I didn't go on too much and hope I've made you feel you're not on your own :0)

    We're all in this together hun :0)

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    • Posted

      hi Angela.  Not sure if you're based in the UK or USA??

      You mention the 'natural/herbal route.....' - just out of interest, what were/are you using ? 

      hate taking meds of any sorts, but I will not be a victim to this bloody monster (no pun intended, for a change!) - so I'll try ANYTHING!!

      Happy New Year to You

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  • Posted

    hi shaznay96184

    i'm in the u.k. I've tried a few different things but at the minute I'm taking vitamin b, evening primrose capsules, cod liver oil, I discovered a cream whilst looking for help on the menopause it's called WELLSPRINGS SERENITY NATURAL PROGESTERONE CREAM.....i am finding that it's helping me but some of the reviews I read about it said it didn't do anything for them but each person is different. I hope this is helpful for you sweetie x

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    • Posted

      Hi angela35947

      Snap!  I also found Wellsprings Progesterone Cream this Summer and gave it a shot.  I've just bought myself a second pot, after having a break for a few mths so that I could get a better idea of whether I was truly benefitting from it.  Due to start my new pot on New Year's Day (how timely: New Year, New Me!  Oh, I do make myself laugh sometimes, with my every-increasing optimism......not!)

      All I'll say at this stage, after not having anything at all to support me since around early October, is that I now ache SOOOOO much more than I did then, so maybe it did help me?!  For a good while I've had aching hips, lower back, and then horror of horrors, they've gone and now my neck, left shoulder and left elbow are killing me!Thought  I'd got probs with my rotator cuff (62yr old sister actually had keyhole surgery on hers 18mths ago - very successful).

      But the more I read on here, the more I'm wondering if it has little to do with the RC, and EVERYTHING to do with this bloody perimenopause!! 

      Also, I cannot say for definite, but I think my sleeping was a bit better while using the Cream. How my ol' man suffers me tossing and turning, stripping off and up and down-ing all night (actually that sounds so much better than it actually is!)  I'll never know - if it wasn't the fact that he's snoring his head off, oblivious to it all lol!!).  He does say I feel like a furnice tho' - not sweaty, just absolutely boiling hot. 

      I've had a blood test because I mentioned my aches and pains to my Nurse Pract'r - go back to see her in the NY as it was specifically checking for Vit D.  Wait till she hears my family history of my late mum's 2 x bouts ofTB in her bones and 3 x hip replacement ops.  They'll probably take me off their books as I'll use up their budget with all the meds I'll probably need ha, ha!

      I am awful at taking any meds, and do know that I should take all those you mention. However, Vit B(6) = gave me the jitteries and anxiety (ironically!) and anything oil-based makes my hair so greasy I look like a teenager - but that doesn't include slim, wrinkle-free and carefree, unfortunately!!

      I'm really looking forward to trying the cream again and won't expect to see any benefit (if at all) until I've given it a good 2-4wks to get in my system.  I'd really love this to work for me, but because of the family bone history, I think I'll have to take whatever I'm advised to take to support my bones, even if it is HRT.

      Watch this space then, and roll on 1st Jan I say!

      Happy New Year angela. x

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  • Posted

    Thank you girls smile I be seeing my GP this Friday and talk with her about it again. My bloodtest all are post menopausal, although yes, we are not offically menopausal until we did not have a bleed for 12 months I know....

    My ovaries, uterus have been checked just a month ago all clear there. No new polyp or cysts or anything.

    On my latest bloodtest it even says: this pattern of high Gonadtrophin (FSH 125) and low Oestradiol (80) idicates the increased ovarian resistance of menopause. Sporadig ovaluation may still occur for 1-2 yeras in a small proportion of women.

    As I said, my FSH was up to 110 already in January 2013...

    I got confused when my GP said to me that HRT is only used when truely menopausal...But I didnt think so...She also advised to use the progsterone further. So I will talk to her again as I don't know, she probably could off suggested HRT herself rather than antidepressants, surely she has to agree that 41 and nearly being over with the transition is a bit early...sad


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  • Posted

    Hi , It all sounds positive :-). Did you experience any weight gain? I have just been prescribed HRT today, not started it yet. I have recently gained a lot of weight due to under active thyroid, which i am struggling to shift. So dont really want to incurr anymore lol x
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