I was breezing through my menopause, barely aware that anything was happening bar the fact that my periods were far less frequent and sometimes didn’t appear for months at a time. I felt fine, though, and was happily getting on with my life and not paying it much attention. Then my mother died.
I was totally knocked sideways by this and after 6 months was still not able to function at all normally, so I went to see my doctor for some help. He prescribed me HRT.
Looking back, I can see that he saw me as a menopausal woman, and put the results of my bereavement down to my hormones, which I now find daft; but at the time I just wanted to feel better so I took it. I was given repeat prescriptions for the next 10 years, and then told I had to come off it. What followed was the menopause with a vengeance. I hadn’t realised that the HRT was bumping up my hormone levels to pre-menopause levels, and that stopping it overnight was a huge shock to my body. I had every menopausal symptom going, and it took 3 years before I felt anywhere like normal again.
Eileen comments: We hear from so many women who have experienced horrible symptoms after coming off HRT suddenly. Our advice is to decrease it gradually over a period of months if possible, to avoid precipitating yourself into a sudden menopausal mess. Fortunately, HRT isn’t prescribed quite so liberally these days, so hopefully no one is being given it instead of bereavement support any more!