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Menopause with no hormone treatment?

By September 24, 2008 - 9:24am
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Has anyone gone through menopause 5 years ago or longer and done it completely without any hormonal help at all?

I am in my second year of menopause after about five years of perimenopause. I have not used hormones of any kind and seem to have gotten through at least the physical effects (hot flashes, etc) without tearing my hair out.

But I have noticed other changes -- in my skin, my hair, and my libido -- that bother me, and I know that our hormones affect all these things. I'm now wondering if my decision (almost by default; I just didn't have an extraordinarily tough transition) to go hormone-free was made in haste, and if I should reconsider.

Does anyone have the experience of 5 or 10 years post-menopause without hormones? Are you happy with your decision?

Add a Comment68 Comments

(reply to Rosa Cabrera RN)

Like your mom, I've been dealing with menopause sans HRT. I think it drives my DH crazier than it does me. I haven't resorted to sleeping in socks and sweats, as I have different weights (summer vs winter) of duvets, an extra quilt and a (rather annoying) cat (who likes to crawl under the covers). My DH teases that my mood swings aren't any worse than they ever were before menopause, LOL!

My biggest physical change has been due to weight gain and, in spite of all my distance running and marathon training over the past 5 years, I simply can't shed it or keep it off. Nonetheless, maintaining this level of activity has its merits, although I often think that not being able to undergo HRT to balance my hormones may be at the root of my body's inability to shed the weight.

June 5, 2009 - 4:38pm

It's been eight awful years for me. I'm 57 now. Breast cancer and chemothearpy at 49 through me right into menop. No slow transition for me. My cancer is estrogen/progestrogen positive (est/pro feeds the cancer) so I can not use hormone replacement. I have very severe hot flashes, memory problems, cognitive problems, NO sex drive, insomnia, mood problems and whatever else menopause causes. I am at my wits end. I am so fatigued. I also have fibromyalgia so it just adds to the problems. I am about to ask my oncoligist if I can go on hormone replacement for just a while, for a break. I cannot stand it anymore, and I don't know how my husband can stand me anymore. I can't stand me anymore. Today I can not remember words. It makes me nuts.

June 4, 2009 - 8:53pm
(reply to valery)

Valery, I am so sorry to hear about how difficult your menopausal symptoms have been. I really feel for you! I'd be interested to know what your oncologist says about trying some kind of HRT. Please let us know how it goes. I've often wondered what women do when they've had cancer that is estrogen positive, and how they deal with their menopausal symptoms (if they experience them)....

June 4, 2009 - 9:31pm

Menopause started creeping up on me 11 years ago. During my first year, my doctor tried to put me on HRT; however, I had adverse reactions, even to soy-based "natural" therapy. Well, needless to say, I've endured years of hot flashes (and they can be as funny as unsettling), gradual weight gain (went from 110 to 150 lbs), chronic insomnia, decreased libido (but, I couldn't care less about that, I'm just too busy), and what we thought was a thyroid issue (but nothing panned out, in spite of the swollen gland).

So, I became a distance runner at around age 50. I'd rather than than take meds, any day. The most annoying issue has been persistent weight and not being able to shed it.

February 27, 2009 - 5:18pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to alysiak)

the persistent weight also is a shocker and annoying to me...i have always beeen able to control my weight easily and now it just keeps comig on and I really dont know where it is coming from....any one have any ideas how to stop this...i am petite so it makes the weight game seems twice of someone taller

January 28, 2010 - 9:50am

I am taking estradiol (1.0 mg.)/norethindrone acetate (0.5mg) in tablet form. My physician gave me several options and I felt most comfortable with this one. I see on this website a strong bias toward bioidentical hormones. I prefer taking medications that have FDA oversight without that you are experimenting on yourself. Perhaps there are bioidentical hormones that do go through FDA testing; I do not know and I have not discussed that with my physician yet. As for bioidentical hormones that have not gone through FDA testing, I would not be comfortable with these. I am a Registered Dietitian and have seen upclose so many problems with nutrition supplements because they do not go through FDA testing. Good luck to you as you find what is right for you.

February 27, 2009 - 2:09pm

Wow, KDC, your comment comes at the perfect time for me. I finally got fed up with how I was feeling and have made an appointment with a doctor next week who specializes in menopause as well.

Your list of symptoms is not unfamiliar to me, and I love what your doctor told you about other endocrine insufficiencies -- it makes perfect sense to me. I will be eager to discuss these things with my new doctor and see what her advice is.

May I ask, are you using bioidentical hormone replacement or synthetic?

I'm going to go check out the book you recommend right now. Thank you so much for writing in detail about your own decision. I really appreciate it.

February 27, 2009 - 11:06am

I am 5 years out from going through menopause without hormone replacement. I took Effexor to get me through the worst of the hotflashes. I started hormone replacement therapy this week. I couldn't take it any longer. I had bone loss, insomnia, vaginal atrophy, urinary incontinence, memory loss and generally questioned the quality of my life. My family doctor did not believe in giving me hormone replacement. I discussed with her getting a second opinion and she welcomed this. I went to a doctor that specializes in menopause and is involved in doing research on menopause. He was very informed and very compassionate. He explained that in any other endocrine insufficiency we replace the hormone be it insulin or thyroid. He explained that estrogen is required by a woman's body and has over 200 targets in our bodies. I am starting HRT and not looking back. He went through the research studies and discussed them with me in detail so that I would be comfortable with my choice. The explanation is outlined in a book Menopause:Guidelines for Contemporary Management by Leon Speroff, MD. He gave me a copy of the book and I have read it twice already. I would certainly recommend it. Good Luck to you in making your own decision. I wish I would not have waited five years.

February 26, 2009 - 9:37pm
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