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Sarah Vine: The Menopause Diary - the reality of HRT

January 18th 2016 / Sarah Vine Google+ Sarah Vine / 1 comment

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Sarah Vine is undergoing HRT and experiencing all manner of symptoms

So here’s what I am discovering about HRT: it’s not a magic wand.

Don’t get me wrong, it's definitely helping. But so far the effects seem to be mainly psychological. I’m less irritable, less maudlin, less prone to mooching around staring at walls and wondering what the point of it all is. Physically, the flushes have subsided; but my overall body temperature remains high, as though my internal thermostat were set permanently to ‘tropical’.

For example, as my entire family are freezing in the recent cold snap, I’m still skipping around in normal clothes. It was so cold the other night that my husband actually watched telly in a hat. I, meanwhile, was snug as a bug.

The aches and pains remain, too, especially my legs and knees. And the tiredness that compels me to bed at a time when most people are just sitting down to supper remains - although that may in part be due to the time of year.

The brain fug has lifted though, which is a blessed relief. I now no longer forget where I’ve parked the car. Well, not always, anyway.

But there’s a new problem: headaches. When I take the progesterone pills (which I do for the first 12 days of each month), I am afflicted by throbbing headaches. Admittedly I’ve only done this phase twice, so this is not a scientific fact. However, I remember very clearly having headaches in the first trimesters of both pregnancies, a problem that the doctor told me was probably down to the progesterone surges at that stage in pregnancy.

I’ve also noticed a marked return of breast tenderness. They quite often feel heavy and hot, as though I had a mild case of mastitis (something that afflicted me constantly while breastfeeding). My cup size has definitely increased, which is not something I welcome. I’ve gone from an DD to an E, which frankly is just embarrassing at my age, not to mention very inconvenient.

So I guess I’ve swapped menopausal symptoms for good old PMS. Out of the frying pan and back into the fire...

Follow us on Twitter @GetTheGloss and @SarahVine and let us know your menopause and HRT experiences in the comments below

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  • Anne Henderson
  • January 24th 2016

There is no need to take cyclical progesterone these days - that's really quite an old fashioned regime, which sadly gives HRT a bad name! There are other more modern options with fewer side effects, less adverse impact on endocrine function and reduced long term risks, as advised by the recent NICE Guidance. Hopefully you can find a combination which suits you better......

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