No one likes finding out they were completely wrong about something, but today I found out I was.
Earlier today I finally watched Davina McCall present Sex, Myth and The Menopause.
On the whole, I think of myself as fairly well educated about the menopause. I know about perimenopause, about hot flushes, brain fog, vaginal atrophy (I may have already talked about that here way back in 2016) when I was a mere forty-six years old.
I am fortunate that I have friends I can talk to about this stuff and find out I'm not unusual or weird for having rage (please see my previous post) or weepy days.
But what I was wrong about was HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy).
I had heard that HRT increased the risk of breast cancer. There were headlines about it. I have discouraged friends and relatives from taking HRT.
I also didn't want to pop another pill on top of the chemo. I didn't want to take something else with side effects and problems, which may impact my body more negatively, when I am, already, fighting a losing battle with my weight despite exercising three times a week.
But now I have changed my mind. I watched the programme and this is what I find out.
Hormone replacement therapy is exactly that, it isn't a pill with chemicals, it is replacing the oestrogen and progesterone that disappears during menopause.
Without oestrogen and progesterone, women end up with all of the above things in menopause, plus losing density in our bones leading to break. Women are one out of two women will break a bone after 50 because of osteoporosis (whose main cause is oestrogen deficiency).
Then there is this - something I had never heard. Women are twice as likely to suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's than a man, because of hormone deficiencies.
Why is this not in big capital letters somewhere - highlighted in Red, with flashing lights???
Why has no one told us this?
So, why did I think HRT led to breast cancer - because of a now debunked report from twenty years ago. So tomorrow morning I'm calling the doctor and I'm getting me some of that HRT - and I'm telling my friends! And I'm apologising to all those people I told shouldn't take HRT. That is a big old slab of sorry...you know who you are - expect my call!
If you are struggling with the menopause please be aware there are only 93 specialist menopause clinics in the whole of the country. There is only one in the area I live in - Birmingham, and after Leeds, there is only one between there and Scotland... Remember that rage I was talking about. Here it is again.
Here is some further information -
There are 4,406 obstetricians and gynaecologists in the United Kingdom. They are 4.6 per cent of the total registered specialists.
I couldn't find any data about how many of them actually specialise in menopause.
Here are some sobering facts that I have stolen from the Menopause Support website (link here )
- Approximately 13 million women in the U.K are either peri- or post menopausal
- Symptoms can last up to 15 years
- Over 60% of women experience symptoms resulting in behaviour changes
- 1 in 4 women will experience severe debilitating symptoms
- Almost half of menopausal women say they feel depressed
- A third of women say they suffer with anxiety
- Women commonly complain of feeling as though they are going mad
- Approximately two thirds of women say there is a general lack of support and understanding
Here is more information about what happens if you go to your GP.
- Women are being incorrectly diagnosed as depressed and given antidepressants
- Approximately 38 per cent of women seek help from a GP
- One quarter of those who visited a GP say the possibility of the symptoms being menopause related is missed
- One third of women who visited a GP were not made aware of hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Many women are mistakenly denied HRT due to existing or family health concerns
- Women still feel very confused about HRT
- Many women are unaware of NHS menopause clinics
Please don't be put off by the above, please stand up for what you need - demand it - it is your right.
Sign up to the Campaign #makemenopausematter here
Please like and share - this is a subject that is shoved under the carpet and not talked about nearly enough. So shout it ladies (and gents) SHOUT IT!