“Someone going through early menopause should be on HRT until she turns 50 – the age at which natural menopause would occur.” The Breast Cancer Risk
hormone replacement to increase their libido,” she says.
Dr Chua adds: “Consider also the psychological effect of menopausing early and losing the ability to have children (or more children), for example. That may affect libido, too.”
And a menopausal woman may go through emotional changes like irritability and mild depression. If these get worse, seek medical help or see a therapist. A common concern about HRT is the increased risk of breast cancer. But Dr Hayes points out that studies show you’re at risk only if you’ve been taking HRT for over ve years. “Also, if only oestrogen is replaced, the risk of breast cancer is much less, compared with if you have to replace both oestrogen and progesterone.”
Dr Chua adds that a woman’s risk of breast cancer also depends on how long her breasts have been exposed to hormonal stimulation. “A woman who starts menstruating exceptionally early (the average age is about 11 years) or gets menopause exceptionally late (after the normal age cap of 55 years) already has an increased risk of breast cancer, compared to her peers who menopause at age 50.”