Not sure what to believe when it comes to HRT? Menopause specialist and GP, Dr Louise Newson, clears up the most common myths you’ll hear about the menopause and risks of taking HRT.
Myth #1: You should wait for your symptoms to get worse before taking HRT
You can start taking HRT as soon as you have symptoms of the perimenopause or menopause, even if you still have periods. The earlier you start taking HRT, the better you will feel and the more your future health will be protected from diseases such as heart disease, osteoporosis and dementia.
Myth #2: You should only have the lowest dose and stop taking HRT after 5-10 years
You need to find the dose that is right for you and gives you the best relief from symptoms. There is no maximum amount of time you should take HRT, it depends on your individual circumstances, and personal choice. Most women take HRT for ever to replace the missing hormones so they never have to stop taking it.
Myth #3: HRT gives you breast cancer and blood clots
There is no risk of breast cancer if you just take oestrogen. If you have to take oestrogen and progesterone or a progestogen, there might be a tiny risk with certain types, but this risk is very small. There is no risk of blood clot with oestrogen taken through the skin in a patch, gel or spray.
Myth #4: HRT is not suitable if you suffer from migraines or have had cancer
If you have migraines, avoid oestrogen as a tablet, but you can still take it as a patch, gel, or spray. Most women who have had cancer in the past can still safely take HRT – even some women who have had breast cancer can still benefit from taking HRT.
Myth #5: Taking HRT just delays the menopause, and you will get symptoms as soon as you stop taking it.
If you have a return of symptoms when you come off HRT, it’s because your body is still reacting to your lack of hormones and would have been anyway, even if you had never started HRT. For most women there is no reason to stop taking HRT as the benefits outweigh the risks and you will have protection from bone thinning and heart disease as you get older.
Bio: Dr Louise Newson is a leading menopause specialist and GP. She is the founder of www.balance-app.com which is a free app offering support and advice to menopausal women.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.