Lisa Snowdon details the symptoms of her early menopause
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This World Menopause day, many women are coming forward to discuss how they dealt with menopause and peri-menopause. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can alleviate some of the unpleasant symptoms of menopause, but it is not without its own side effects. What are the most common side effects of HRT?
Menopause can bring with it some dramatic symptoms, including hot flushes, mood swings and brain fog.
Every person experiencing menopause experiences the symptoms differently.
For some, the symptoms can be so intense they prevent you from going about your daily life.
In these cases, your doctor might recommend a course of hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Menopausal symptoms seem to flare up as a result of your levels of oestrogen and progesterone dropping.
Low oestrogen in particular is linked to hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings.
HRT involves taking more oestrogen and progesterone to replenish your hormone levels.
There are two forms of HRT: Oestrogen-only and combined oestrogen and progesterone.
You’ll most likely be given combined HRT, unless you have had a hysterectomy.
HRT can be administered via patches, gels, tablets or vaginal suppositories.
What are the side effects of HRT?
Like every medicine, HRT can cause side effects.
The NHS advises people to continue taking HRT, even if they experience side effects, as the side effects can subside within three months of HRT.
The most common side effects of HRT are:
- Breasts feeling tender or getting larger
- Leg cramp
- Mood swings
- Headaches or migraines
- Fluid retention
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If your GP prescribed you HRT, you can go back to them to discuss any side effects you experience, and whether you might prefer a different form of HRT.
Who can take HRT?
HRT is suitable for many women, but some may have medical conditions making HRT unsuitable for them.
The following conditions could mean HRT is not suitable for you:
- Endometrial (womb) cancer or breast cancer
- A history of blood clots
- A heart attack, angina or stroke
- Untreated high blood pressure
- Liver disease
- An undiagnosed lump in your breast
- Undiagnosed vaginal bleeding between periods
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