Alternatives to HRT [with sign language]
Dr Louise Newson discusses the availability and safety of alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy.
I am Dr. Louse Newson. I am a GP and Menopause Expert in West Midlands.
There are other treatments available. Some of them work…some of them we don’t have the evidence for and it is very difficult getting evidence for some of these alternative treatments. Partly, because we know that placebo has an effect and you give someone a placebo and it has an effect.
The other thing is menopausal symptoms fluctuate quite a bit. So some women say “I feel better” and they might feel better anyway because they are getting some estrogen from their bodies. It is difficult to know.
So my concern as a GP is to know if some of the products are harmful. So, some of the herbal products have not been tested properly. You don’t know what’s in them…and harm. There have been some that are associated with liver failure. Some of these have been associated with interactions with other medications. So women I think are quite confused what’s safe. There are lots of toxic plants out there. Sometimes people think its herbal so it’s safe and that’s not actually true.
It’s very important that something given is regulated and we know what’s contained in it.
The other thing is as a GP I am interested in the way hormones can help your bones and your heart. Some of these other treatments may help your symptoms but they won’t provide bone protection and won’t help your heart as well. So you have to think about what you are taking it for.
For some of these people who choose not to take HRT or can’t for medical reasons, some of these products can be effective and can really help.