Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) - Who can use it 

Who can use HRT 

You can begin hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as soon as you start experiencing menopausal symptoms.

The average age for women to experience menopause is 52. However, some women have the menopause when they are in their forties or sixties. There is no way of predicting exactly when the menopause will occur.

Some women have menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and vaginal dryness, before menopause actually starts. This is known as the peri-menopause.

The peri-menopause occurs because levels of the female sex hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, fall when the number of remaining eggs drops below a certain number. This means you may experience menopausal symptoms even when you are still having periods.

In most cases, HRT can be used without taking a test to confirm you are starting the menopause. A test for the menopause is usually only necessary if you are under 40 or have unusual bleeding patterns during your period.

Testing can help rule out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms, such as having an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) or cervical cancer.

When HRT is not suitable

HRT may not be suitable if you:

In these circumstances, a different type of medication may be prescribed to help control your menopausal symptoms.

Read more about the alternatives to HRT.


Page last reviewed: 11/05/2012

Next review due: 11/05/2014

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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

rosewarne said on 09 May 2014

I was on the contraceptive pill for nearly 30 years with no ill effects whatsoever. From the age of 54 I took HRT and felt marvellous. Because of the various scares in the media, I decided to stop taking HRT at the age of 64 and have regretted it ever since!

I am now coming up to 70 and have really painful osteoarthritis in my hands and feet, my skin is awful and my libido is non-existent. I am still experiencing hot sweats, have put on weight and generally feel old lethargic and miserable! I asked my GP if I could go back on it again and he said he thought my symptoms were more likely to be caused by depression than by coming of HRT because I have an elderly mother with dementia! He suggested antidepressants, which I refused. Of course caring for my mum is pretty stressful, but I know that is not the reason for my symptoms.

I am pretty fit (size 12/14 and 5'5") but could probably do with losing a stone and was prescribed statins for high cholesterol 6 months ago, but am on no other medication.

Is there anyone out there who is still on HRT at the age of 70 and beyond and who can reassure me that it is ok to go back on it again? I know the risks and am prepared to sign anything to absolve my GP from responsibility should the need arise, but a part of me still wonders if I am now too old to go back on to HRT.

Thanks.

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