Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

Barbara's story

Barbara Hunt, a retired civil servant from Canterbury, Kent, has had a rollercoaster ride with the menopause and HRT.

"I was 51 when I had my first hot flush. My periods had been erratic for six months, so I realised I was approaching the menopause. Then the flushes started with a vengeance.

"My GP immediately suggested HRT. This was when it was being hailed as the wonder drug. I started off with patches. I still had periods, but at least the flushes went away.

"After four years, I heard about its possible side effects and decided to stop taking it. The flushes returned and I got night sweats, too. Heat would suddenly engulf me, then disappear just as quickly. The night sweats were really hard. I was waking up every half-hour and got so little sleep that going back on HRT seemed my only option.

"I started taking it again. To my relief, the flushes and sweats are a thing of the past. I'm now trying to wean myself off the patches by cutting a third off them each time. Having gone on HRT, it seems to be such a tough job to get off it. I sometimes wonder whether, if I'd never taken it, the flushes might be over by now."

Page last reviewed: 20/07/2016
Next review due: 20/07/2019