I am close to, if not actually in
menopause (no periods since last summer; I love it!!), and I have made it through without hormones. I went back and forth with the idea for a while during the early years after the process began, but because I never could tolerate birth control pills---one gave me migraines for a solid year, others merely made me psychotic---I decided to do whatever it took to get through this on my own.
So I went on antidepressants to smoothe out the emotional rollercoaster I'd found myself on, and I take a mg. of lorazepam every night. It doesn't stop the night sweats, but it does help me sleep through 'em!:wink2: The sleep deprivation and the craziness were what affected me the worst, so those were the symptoms I chose to deal with..........the rest of it is uncomfortable, but not unbearable, and I'm around other midlife women so there are plenty of people to commiserate with.
To be honest, I don't think perimenopause has been as difficult for me as it was for my mother or sister. My mother never took hormones or got any other help, and she was a train wreck; by contrast, my sister is still on Premarin even though her surgical menopause was more than 30 years ago. Every woman deals with it differently; personally, I've always considered menopause a natural process, so I think my experience of it might be a bit less intense than that of a woman who's been fed menopause horror stories all her life. And for what it's worth, I'm tickled pink to finally be getting done with messy periods, headaches, cramps, PMS, and pregnancy scares.......and I don't feel any less feminine.