Drugs

I am still getting emails from women in a state of confusion and fear about how they are feeling in menopause or peri-menopause. I am often asked whether I am better now since the NYRB/Guardian piece, and what I'm taking. So, this is what I am currently taking to give me some stability and serenity. It's not perfect, but it's better.


HRT

200mcg Estradot (oestradiol) patches, twice a week, changed on Wednesday and Saturday.

100mg Utrogestan (micronised progesterone) taken every month from days 15-25. One pill taken vaginally, at night.

Small blob (I can't be more precise) of testosterone, applied to inner thighs each morning and allowed to dry. Current brand is Testogel.


SSRI

100mg sertraline, taken daily in the morning.


VITAMINS AND MINERALS

1 tsp magnesium powder taken with breakfast.

1 tablet Multi-B complex taken with breakfast.

1 x 14mg tablet of iron citrate, taken with breakfast.

A couple of drops of Vitamin D3 emulsion, when I remember.


LIFESTYLE

I avoid alcohol, as it brings on a level of depression for the following 24 hours that makes me dysfunctional. I am mostly vegan and eat mostly healthily, though that includes sourdough and cake. I run a lot and do strength training and yoga, though not as much as I should.


Do not think that this is perfect. I still have bad days, but not as frequently, and the sertraline helps me function on bad days that used to have me fleeing home to a dark room. I still have excessive anxiety and panic sometimes, but I can work through that too, mostly. I struggled for a long time with the idea of taking sertraline, but I'm glad I decided to take it. I had a couple of weeks of nausea and fatigue when I started on 50mg, a few days of nausea and yawning when I increased the dose from 75mg to 100mg. But now, although I'm still dopey in the mornings, I'm fine with it.


I hope this is helpful. But every woman is different, and try your GP or doctor first, but make sure you have done your research. If you don't get much help there, and if you can afford it, pay for a specialist menopause clinic. I've been helped most by the Newson Health clinic in Stratford (which also has a lot of good information on the website) but I've also spent a lot of time googling and talking to friends about what helps.


And you can of course email me. I try to answer everyone who writes.

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