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Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Menopause is a natural part of ageing in women.

It is caused by the ovaries producing less of the hormone oestrogen resulting in periods stopping. Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 years, and the average age in the UK is 51. Menopause occurring under 40 years of age is called ‘premature menopause’ and affects about 1% of women.

Most women will experience at least some symptoms of menopause.

However, the good news is that some simple lifestyle changes can usually help.  If not, your GP can offer treatment, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Over the years there have been a number of studies published about the potential risks of taking HRT.  However, more recent evidence suggests that the risks of HRT are small and are usually outweighed by the benefits.

If you cannot take HRT, or it does not help, your GP may be able to refer you to a menopause specialist.

Most women do not need any tests to confirm that they are menopausal, but a blood test may be helpful if you are under 45 years of age when you start having symptoms.

Starting HRT

If you are experiencing menopausal symptoms, and have already tried some simple lifestyle changes, it may be helpful to speak to a GP.  However, before booking an appointment at the surgery, we would like you to have completed the following simple steps to facilitate your consultation:-

Step 1: Watch Dr Sophie’s video on Menopause & HRT

Step 2: Read the NHS A-Z topic ‘Menopause’

Step 3: Read the NHS A-Z topic ‘Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)’

Step 4: Read the Women’s Health Concern factsheet ‘Breast cancer risk factors’

Please pay close attention to the section titled ‘Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)’

Step 5: View the Women’s Health Concern ‘Understanding the risks of breast cancer’ Patient Decision Aid

Step 6: Read the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough ICS Patient Information Leaflet ‘Testosterone gel for low sexual desire in postmenopausal women’

Step 7: Complete your ‘Starting HRT’ Questionnaire

The ‘Starting HRT’ Questionnaire asks for some information about you including your height, weight and an up to date blood pressure reading. These parameters are required for our safety checks. If you do not have the appropriate equipment at home, most high street chemists now have machines which will be able to record all three for you.  If not, one of our healthcare assistants (HCA’s) can help (by appointment).

Step 8: We will contact you with a GP appointment

Once you have completed the steps above, and we have received your ‘Starting HRT’ questionnaire, we will contact you to book a routine appointment with a GP who will be able to discuss your options with you.

Please remember when completing your questionnaire to include a phone number we can contact you on, and tell us if there are any specific dates or times you cannot take a call from the GP.

HRT Reviews

If you are already established on HRT, we will contact you when your routine HRT review is due. As part of the review process, we will ask you to confirm you have read the information resources on this page, and complete a HRT Review Questionnaire before your consultation with the GP.

However, please do get in touch with us through the usual channels, if you are experiencing any difficulties with your HRT.