24 Mar 2022

Perimenopausal and taking HRT

The Latte Lounge supports women by sharing real-life menopause stories. This story is written by Catherine Brennan. Over to you Catherine.

What’s wrong with me?

I can’t figure it out. I go to sleep and wake up tired. I’m a mess emotionally. My husband just gave me a framed photo of our dinner menu from our wedding anniversary, and I burst into tears. I then turned around and bit his head off because he was breathing out of the wrong nostril. Later on, I was swamped by a feeling of crushing worry, more than anxiety, my mind was racing, and then it wasn’t racing; I was just under a cloud as if all my emotions were fading into the background. 

Luckily, I had already looked into what I was feeling. I happened upon Dr Louise Newson’s Instagram page, which led me to her website, to the NICE guidelines on perimenopause, and I thought…

Oh, My God- I am NOT losing my mind; I am just losing my oestrogen.

What a relief.

RELATED ARTICLE: HRT in the UK: Essential information you need to know

I was prescribed antidepressants instead of HRT

So I went to my doctor. She listened to me recall my symptoms, and then she prescribed me antidepressants.

"Oh no," I said, "I’m not depressed. I think I am in perimenopause and that HRT might be a good option."

'Oh'- she said- "no- I can’t prescribe that because of the increased risk of breast cancer."

"Oh",- I said- "I researched that, and in fact, it was a 2008 study, now debunked and incomplete, and there is no association between breast cancer and topical oestrogen and micronized progestin." She just shook her head.


I knew it was Oestrogen I needed, not antidepressants

Now, not that long ago, I would have walked out of the office and felt defeated. Not that day. I asked for a referral to my ObGyn, whom I’d talked to about my symptoms in a prior meeting. I knew he was open to discussing further.

Within a few minutes of chatting with him, he thought I would be a good candidate for oestrogen. I cannot describe the relief that I was being listened to. Sometimes that’s part of the puzzle too, being cared for, and having my concerns validated and alleviated, that my symptoms were not a sign of mental instability. 

And guess what?

Within a couple of days, my symptoms were gone, and I was back!

I know HRT isn’t a one-size-fits-all, that women’s health is multi-faceted, and that we can do a much better job supporting women in midlife rather than dismissing them. I was lucky that my ObGyn listened and cared; I just don’t think women should have to be lucky to get the care they need and deserve.

Written by: Catherine Brennan, Toronto 

If you feel you might be suffering from peri/menopausal symptoms, download our FREE perimenopause symptom checker here:  

Share this article

Guest Author's blog posts

10 top tips for tackling menopause symptoms at work

Around 42% of working women consider leaving their workplaces due to menopause. 
You might have to do things for yourself to make you more comfortable, but other times, you should be able to rely on your workplace.

Read More

What is menopause doing to my bones?

What happens to my bones during menopause? Oestrogen plays a key role in the formation of bone tissue by keeping the balance between bone formation (building up) and bone resorption (breaking down).  As oestrogen levels drop during and after menopause, bone resorption increases, accelerating bone loss. This, in turn, puts you at risk of developing […]

Read More

Discover More

Menopause Resources

Find a menopause specialist, download our symptom checker, tips on preparing for your GP visit and so much more.

HRT and Tailored Menopause Support

Speak to the team at The Latte Lounge+ powered by Stella

Menopause Support for Employers

Speak to us about how we can help you support employees affected by menopause symptoms.

Join our Facebook Community

The original home of The Latte Lounge - our private group of more than 25,000 women discussing all things midlife.