Taking HRT to protect the heart: Alice's story

Alice Riley, from Shropshire, was prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help protect her heart from the risks of early menopause. She describes the impact of HRT on her life.

Alice Riley with her son

Five years ago, when I was 31, I was diagnosed with early menopause. We had been trying for a baby for a couple of years and decided to have some additional tests done. Twelve months later they suggested I was perimenopausal.

I’d had no symptoms so it wasn’t something I was thinking about and no one in my family experienced early menopause. It completely blew me away. We went through four rounds of IVF treatments and we were very lucky. I now have a little boy who is three.

Identifying symptoms of early menopause

After that there was no other mention of my menopause. But around six months after I had my little boy, I started to experience severe joint pain and felt worn out. I went back to the GP to ask what was happening and they thought it was due to me having a baby and it would improve. That never happened. I mentioned early menopause, but they said I was too young to worry about it.

If I forget to put my patches on in the morning, I feel weak. HRT could actually save you and extend your life

I had started to read about the risks of early menopause, especially premature heart disease. I was concerned about this and osteoporosis so I booked in to see a specialist, Dr Newson, who prescribed me hormone replacement therapy (HRT). I was keen to take it because I felt so awful.

It was life-changing. I feel completely different now. I think there’s so much bad press and misinformation about HRT, which is scaring people off, but it could give people their quality of life back. If I forget to put my patches on in the morning, I feel weak. HRT could actually save you and extend your life.

Sharing experiences within the family

My nan had two suspected heart attacks in her 50s and suffers from angina. She had a total hysterectomy at 40 (which brought on the menopause) and I wish HRT had been an option for her.

I do worry about other women who might not be aware of the risks of premature menopause

Before my mum turned 60, I got her to see the same specialist I saw and she started on HRT. It has made a huge difference to her too.

I wouldn’t have known I was menopausal if we weren’t trying for a baby. I was still having periods and I just felt weaker – I would never have guessed that was the reason. My GP is prescribing HRT for me, but I do worry about other women who might not be aware of the risks of premature menopause.

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