im trying to understand a few things about being forced through menopause and when is it over.

im on zolodex monthly 4th year, blood test soon to see if ovaries have finally packed up.

I take exemestane and have been told they will probably be for 10 years.

What I’m confused about is

1 do you always have menopausal symptoms whilst on hormone therapy

2 if you have gone through menopause whilst on hormone therapy do the symptoms go away even though still on treatment.

3 when you stop the hormone therapy is the menopause over and do you start to feel better.

my biggest concern is my mental health, always suffered with anxiety but not to the extent I do now. I’ve been on antidepressants for 30 years. I struggle daily now. I now see a hypnotherapist and it has helped but I really want to see some hope in the future that it will get easier.

is the menopause causing my increased anxiety or is it the treatment. I honestly don’t know if I could do 10 years on it if my mental health doesn’t improve. It’s impacting on everything now. Counselling doesn’t help and last year I changed antidepressants which was awful and ended back on the same ones. 

I find it hard to understand how it will improve as you surely can’t go through the menopause past 10 years, can you?

vicky xxx

Hello Vicky 

Thank you for posting your question.  

It sounds as though you are having a difficult time with anxiety and it’s understandable you’d like to know if this could be related to your menopausal symptoms.  

Menopausal symptoms are a common side effect from hormone therapies. Side effects will be different for everyone, some people find that they get better over time, but others may find they last longer and vary in severity.  

It’s possible to go through your natural menopause whilst taking hormone therapies. Its sounds as though your GP plans to check your hormone levels with a blood test once you finish taking zoladex. It’s recommended to wait several months after finishing treatment to check the blood levels to allow time for effect of the zoladex to wear off. You can discuss with your GP about the best time to have the blood test taken.  

It’s difficult to know if your anxiety will improve when you finish your hormone therapy. With a natural menopause, the severity and duration of symptoms will vary.  This is the same for menopause related to medications. You mention taking anti-depressants and having tried counselling. You may find it helpful to talk to your breast care nurse or GP about any other options that may be available. You can ask to be referred to a specialist menopause clinic and, in some cases, changing to a different hormone therapy may be recommended.  

You may find this factsheet about emotional wellness in menopause helpful.  

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