Does HIV make your menopause symptoms harder to handle?
The jury’s still out on whether HIV positive women have earlier menopause or more severe symptoms. What experts do know is that women who routinely use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to prevent bone loss (osteoporosis) and heart disease have an elevated risk of breast cancer, heart attack and stroke.
Based on your individual risk factors (which could include blood fats elevated by HIV drugs), and the severity of your menopause symptoms, your doctor may consider a short course of HRT. “We decide on a case-by-case basis,” notes Susan Cu-Uvin, MD, who runs the HIV Menopause Clinic at Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. If you can’t stand the hot flashes, ask your doctor about herbal remedies like black cohosh or evening primrose. To help prevent osteoporosis, your doctor may suggest calcium and vitamin D supplements. To reverse bone loss, he or she may prescribe a drug like Fosamax (alendronate).