This blog is going to cover my experience of HRT so far….if you don’t know what HRT stands for, this is not the blog for you…though there is no harm in reading on for your own amusement.
HRT has endured much negative PR, and I like many thought I’d do my best to avoid it. I try to keep my body pharmaceutical-free where I can, my personal experiences to date akin to ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ scenarios with the side-effects….which I ALWAYS get to experience in all their glory.
I thought I was going to get away without it too, for a bit….
I survived month 1, after the big switching off of my ovaries (courtesy of a massive pill dispensing needle in the stomach — Zoladex) , with few traumatic side effects. The most notable being the massive blue-black bruise, caused by a broken blood vessel, making me look like I’d been stabbed — which I sort of had! It scared the fuck out of my children….useful only in that Lollipop dialled down his daily physical assault…slightly! I was slightly scared, when it took the full month to die down, and I contemplated a future with my already scarred, saggy stomach hosting this affliction too.
Month 2 saw me, as pre-agreed with my gynaecologist, taking HRT for a couple of weeks. However, the side-effects turned out to be as debilitating as actually having my ovaries working, thus putting me back to square one. So I just stopped taking it, which according to the instructions is fine. At this point I went to the doctor to discuss what alternatives I could try, he was dismissive of and reluctant to discuss my side-effects (some were vag related), telling me nothing else was compatible with Zoladex — complete bollocks I later found out — and to wait to see my gynaecologist. Basically, he was as ignorant as I was about HRT…it was the standard the computer said ‘no’ outcome I’ve come to expect from my GP!
Month 3 saw the pain kick in….I physically became an old lady over night. I kid you not, I couldn’t lift my legs to get into bed I had to sit and swivel!? If my husband tried to give me a cuddle, which given our height different we often do lying down — no not a euphemism for sex, I couldn’t take the pressure of his frame upon mine.
My skin started to degenerate, I felt age was eating me alive from the inside out, like the Shakespearean metaphor, a worm in the bud! I love/need to box at the gym to keep fit/sane, this saw me developing a frozen shoulder…It was ridiculous how quickly I deteriorated.
Please note, in my case this was exacerbated by my pre-existing condition of Elher’s Danos Type 3, where my collagen is poor in the first place. With this condition, HRT can either really help or hinder, clearly help for me.
Therefore, in reality I didn’t and don’t have a choice, I need to use HRT to prevent shrivelling into an old, crippled, arthritic prune! But what?….I wanted something more natural. My Sister, whose also into a more ‘natural’ approach to health, came to the rescue and helped me to discover bio-identical HRT:
“Bioidenticals are hormones that have the same chemical structure as the hormones your body would be making and are therefore easier to metabolise, and less likely to cause an adverse reaction. They’re often from plant origin — yams or soy — but they still have to be processed in a lab, and manufactured into something you can use as a tablet, a gel or a patch.”
Bio identical hormones are promoted as being similar or identical to human hormones. Sounded good to me, much better than the piss of pregnant mares….the thought of how they retrieve the quantities they must need of that makes me want to vom! How did they even discover that was a ‘thing’???
Initially, I had to return to the original HRT out of desperation, whilst I waited to see what my gynaecologist had to say and could prescribe. Fortuitously, this happened shortly afterwards, well in a matter of weeks not months or years! This is where I found out I could use different brands/types of HRT whilst on Zoladex! For some reason he also was very not keen to discuss my side-effects from the HRT, some being vag related I found this very strange, given his job title!
He also wasn’t very supportive of my desired foray into bio-identical HRT, which although largely unregulated and thus not properly recognised in the UK’s medical world, is considered more gentle and comes with less side-effects. What I got from this conversation was that he really wasn’t clued up on what on this form of HRT, but from his perspective, as long as I took something to slow my downhill race towards osteoporosis, he didn’t care.
And so I found Estriol cream, which the medical jury ‘remains out’ upon the benefits of. Studies do exist that prove it’s safer to use than most HRTs, especially for those at risk of cancer or having had cancer, and that it’s gentleness is its strength. It’s application is less than wonderful, up the vag for 2 weeks straight and then every 2 weeks….
but I can report I am no longer in pain! I feel more lubricated all over ;-), I am not getting massive hot sweats….just little ones, which I don’t mind too much and I notice are directly related to stress. So I just do my best to avoid that….by avoiding everyone I have the choice to avoid — please don’t take offence people it’s an armpit choice and won’t last forever!
I’ve also magically discovered that applied to the face, through research not a direct trial, it is an effective anti-ageing treatment. Yey, go Estriol, poison my ageing worm!
Thus I can report, that I am feeling better physically and looking less haggard but balancing my emotional state is still a work in progress!!! I’ll keep you posted if I find a solution to that, though it could just be a move to Scotland….