Related Topics: Hormones, Menopause, Natural Progesterone, News

Why Are Women Not Being Offered Natural Alternatives to HRT?

Despite safer, and effective, natural options many doctors still offer women no alternative to traditional HRT, but there are other choices that you can make.

AnnA Rushton

A survey revealed that 80% of menopausal women in the UK are not being offered alternatives to HRT. Frankly, I’m surprised that 20% of them are actually being offered alternatives.

Given the recent panic over shortage of HRT medications, many women may be considering whether it is time to look at what else is available.

A woman’s right to choose

I am all for informed choice, and that means access to information of all the options available. It seems that just under half of all women in the UK who went to the doctor with symptoms of menopause were prescribed HRT and that certainly confirms my own observation that you are as likely to be offered HRT as not, whatever your symptoms.

At that first consultation, nearly 60% of women felt that they were not given enough information on how to cope with the menopause or advice on any alternative treatment.

It is over fifteen years since I met the late Dr John Lee and discovered that there was a real alternative to synthetic hormones and began collaborating with doctors using bioidentical hormones such as Dame Dr Shirley Bond.

I started to research and then to offer information and support on bioidentical hormones, and really have been doing so ever since. It is often distressing to realise that the same questions and problems continue to recur and that women are not being offered sufficient help and information on the natural alternatives to HRT.

What many doctors do not seem to have really taken on board yet is that a staggering 50% of women who are prescribed HRT will abandon it because of fears of its health issues, particularly an increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease and strokes.

The general response, if a woman is not well suited to the HRT she is taking, is to switch prescriptions and this can be done several times until either a particular formulation is found which has the least side-effects or the woman herself decides to seek an alternative.

The bioidentical alternatives

Dr John Lee, a pioneer of natural progesterone use for menopause and hormonal problems, always said that it was going to be down to the women to enforce change and he certainly seems to be right if these figures are anything to go by.

Fortunately, women today have the choice of using a bioidentical form of HRT, with oestrogens and/or progesterone, that is as effective as the chemical or synthetic hormones in traditional HRT but without the side-effects or withdrawal symptoms.

Doctors seem to be solely focused on the declining levels of oestrogen at menopause, but neglect entirely the need to balance oestrogen and progesterone. Oestrogen naturally falls at menopause and artificially boosting it through HRT is what has caused the problems as there has not been the corresponding balance of progesterone.

This has resulted in what Dr Lee identified as symptoms of oestrogen dominance such as bloating, weight gain, tender breasts and mood swings. Instead of using the benefits of the natural hormone to offset this, synthetic progestins are included in HRT and these do not have the same effect in opposing the excess oestrogen, indeed they can bring problems of their own.

What are women really suffering from during menopause?  The old favourites of hot flushes and night sweats, mood swings and sleep disturbances – all of which are indeed upsetting but which can often be dealt with either through the use of natural hormones or a variety of other methods including herbs and dietary changes.

So if your doctor’s first option is to offer HRT why not ask what else is available? And if they don’t know, suggest it would be a public service to their patients for them to find out.

Helpful information

Depending on the severity and type of your symptoms you may need just progesterone alone or a combined progesterone and oestrogen cream.

If you have signs of oestrogen dominance then just progesterone will be helpful, but if you have very severe symptoms, or a need for oestrogen with vaginal dryness for instance, then a combined cream may suit you better.

What Is Oestrogen Dominance?

A Doctor’s Guide To Coming Off HRT

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Comments 9
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AnnA Rushton | 4:26 pm, August 6th, 2015

It will depend on your symptoms Margaret but it unusual for a doctor to prescribe bioidentical hormones, it will depend on the practice guidelines. Most women post HRT need a combination cream of progesterone and oestrogen but as far as we are aware this is not available on the NHS. This article may be helpful:

Margaret horne | 2:44 pm, August 6th, 2015

So what should I be asking my docter for , I am 76 came of HRT about two years ago after taking it for nearly twenty years still in menapause .

AnnA Rushton | 4:43 pm, July 7th, 2015

Hayley withdrawing from HRT does bring symptoms as your hormone levels crash. WE recommend you don’t cut down any further until you can support this withdrawal with bioidentical progesterone in the first instance and then with a combination cream if you still need oestrogen when off the Elleste.

Dr Coope’s article may help:

Hayley alessio | 5:13 pm, July 6th, 2015

I’m weaning myself off hrt elleste duet I’m now on 1mg instead of 2 but feeling anxious and bad mood swings is this normal I’m dreading when come off altogether how long will these symptoms last is there anything I can take
Been on hrt for 10 years

AnnA Rushton | 6:12 pm, April 9th, 2013

Certainly there is a case for internal application, which is recommended by Dr Mercola, and used by many women for vaginal dryness.

wellsprings | 10:03 am, February 2nd, 2012

Tracy – sadly there are very few GP’s prescribing bioidentical natural hormones on the NHS and a few more who will do so on private prescription but they don’t advertise this and we don’t have a register of them.

Two of the doctors on this site who are very experienced in natural hormone prescribing do offer consultations in person or by phone in the UK.

They are Dame Dr Shirley Bond and Dr Tony Coope and you can get details of their charges and other information here:

AnnA Rushton | 4:11 pm, July 14th, 2010

Thank you Virginia. We are doing our best to carry on Dr Lee’s work and your comment is much appreciated. I believe you and I have met on one of John’s visits to London when I facilitated a seminar for him at Regents Park College? Best wishes, AnnA

Portia | 11:04 pm, July 13th, 2010

Brilliant Article.

In my culture Nettle Tea = Menopause Tea.

I have tried it during menopause and had increased energy and trouble free menopause.

Such a shame the male patriarchy took control of women’s business and try and force us to do their will, making them rich and women ill.

Virginia Hopkins | 8:22 pm, July 13th, 2010

Great article Anna — Dr. Lee would have loved it. Thanks to the clamoring of menopausal women, bioidentical hormones are here to stay and every day more conventional MDs are turning to them. The French figured this out years ago.

Virginia Hopkins
Editor, Virginia Hopkins Health Watch

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