Barbara Hunt, a retired civil servant from Canterbury, Kent, has had many ups and downs with the menopause and HRT.
"I was 51 when I had my first hot flush. My Periods had been erratic for six months, so I realised I was approaching the menopause. Then the flushes started with a vengeance.
"My GP immediately suggested HRT. This was when it was being hailed as a wonder drug. I started with patches. I still had periods, but at least the flushes went away.
"After four years, I heard about its possible side effects and stopped taking it. The flushes returned and I got night sweats too. Heat would engulf me, then disappear as quickly as it had arrived. The night sweats really got tome. I was waking every half an hour and became so short of sleep that going back on HRT seemed my only option.
"I started taking it again and, to my relief, the flushes and sweats are a thing of the past. Im now trying to wean myself off the patches by cutting a third off them each time. Having gone on HRT, it seems to be such a job to get off it and I sometimes wonder whether, if Id never taken it, the flushes might be over by now."
The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally. Read more about the symptoms, causes and treatments.
Find out about the different symptoms of the menopause, including hot flushes, night sweats, loss of libido, a change in monthly periods and vaginal dryness.
Read about the main treatments for symptoms of the menopause, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and the alternatives.