Cynthia expected an easy passage through the menopause. Severe hot flushes however have had a significant impact on her well-being. She has tried a range of alternative therapies and herbal products, but is now finding relief by taking a low dose HRT.
When Cynthia’s periods first became erratic, she welcomed the onset of the menopause. After all, she had no reason to expect anything other than a smooth transition, having had a very easy time all my life with my hormones;. She did not appreciate however, that ferocious; hot flushes day and night would have such a debilitating effect on her life, nor that the following years would see her try a range of prescription and alternative treatments with varying degrees of success.
Cynthia describes her hot flushes vividly as being like someone walked up, opened a little trap door, put a hot coal in, shut the door and it radiated from inside;. Consulting her GP, Cynthia was offered HRT or nothing;. Her doctor’s casual dismissive attitude; and unwillingness to take her preferences into account led her to seek help from a registered herbalist who prescribed a herbal tincture. Much to her relief, within a fortnight the hot flushes had stopped. Unfortunately, within seven months they returned with a vengeance.
Feeling desperate, Cynthia embarked on a series of alternative therapies and herbal remedies, including Chinese and Western acupuncture, natural progesterone cream (which she bought on the Internet), soy isoflavones, dong quai, and a magna pulse magnet worn in her underwear. All, however, were ineffective, a waste of money and very expensive;. Cynthia’s hot flushes continued unabated.
Returning to her GP Cynthia asked to be put on clonidine (a blood pressure lowering medication which at smaller doses can help minimise hot flushes). While her daytime flushes decreased, however, they continued at night. After several months she asked her GP for HRT. As she had finished her periods two years before, Cynthia was prescribed a no bleed; HRT (Kliovance). However, side effects, including bleeding and headaches, led Cynthia to change to another low dose HRT (Premique) which has worked well for the past year. However, knowing that her GP will only supply HRT until she turns 55, Cynthia is gradually weaning herself off by not taking the full dose. She feels that by keeping a supply to take later, she will maintain some control over her treatment.
Cynthia strongly recommends the internet as a source of information for women going through the menopause. She has found the Menopause Matters website particularly helpful in giving advice and providing a forum for women to share their experiences.
Cynthia was interviewed for Healthtalkonline in February 2009.