Menopause, it is not often talked about, yet most women experience it. Hot flushes, reduced energy, troubled sleep, mood swings are only a few of the symptoms experienced during menopause. Susan Saradan, artist Tracey Emin and Cybill Shepherd have all mentioned their experiences though some women bypass the symptoms altogether.
More often than not, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the chosen route, however nowadays women, including Rosie O’Donell and Madonna, are looking for other options. In an interview with Rosie and Tyra Banks, the mention of a ‘cream’ was suggested. This ‘cream’ is formulated using bio- identical hormones which is part of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) of which is starting to take over standard HRT in the UK.
The pioneer of BHRT in the UK, Dr Marion Gluck, suggested normal HRT was associated with increased issues in patients including weight gain and reduced libido. Alternatively, BHRT can be used as a treatment for hormone imbalances including menopause. Dr Gluck often treats full-time working women aged between 40-50 who are not only raising a family but are breadwinners. These women need to be at their best which motivated Dr Gluck to find alternatives to traditional HRT.
Dr Gluck, initially practicing as a GP , discovered bio-identical hormones at a compounding pharmacy in Australia. BHRT compromises of plant extracts which mirror the molecular structure of hormones produced by the human body whereas traditional HRT consist of synthetic animal-based hormones. The make-up of BHRT results in reduced side effects and minimal health risks compared to HRT. The treatment is also individualised with the aim of finding the correct hormone balance for each patient.
At the Marion Gluck Clinic in London, the process involves a full patient history and a hormone blood screening test. From the results, a uniquely tailored prescription of bio-identical hormone lozenges or creams are given to the patient to ensure the hormones are effectively absorbed into the blood stream. After the treatment begins, patients either feel better within a few days or weeks with improvements in energy, confidence and health.
Dr Gluck hopes to train even more doctors in BHRT, as currently in the UK only around 20 doctors prescribe BHRT. The importance of building awareness to healthy alternatives to HRT is desired.