Which menopause treatment’s best for me?

Ellie Cox


Dr Marion Gluck, Hormone Expert, and Founder of The Marion Gluck Clinic explores the different treatment options available for anyone experiencing menopause or perimenopause symptoms.

With October being Menopause Awareness Month, and many women experiencing debilitating symptoms that make carrying out everyday tasks difficult, it’s important that women know there are treatment options available, and they needn’t suffer in silence.

Synthetic HRTs made from estrogens derived from horse urine, or synthetic oral estrogens are still available on the NHS but are not the optimal choices. The British Menopause Society recognises that bioidentical HRT is the gold standard form of HRT, which is derived from plant sterols such as beta-sitosterol and diosgenin from Mexican yams. Bioidentical and body identical hormones are exactly the same but body identical refers to the regulated standard dose treatments available on the NHS, and bioidentical refers to the personalised HRT from a compounding pharmacy. 

As a menopause doctor, I prefer to prescribe compounded Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) and regulated body identical HRT where appropriate, depending on each individual client. BHRT differs from synthetic HRT as bioidentical hormones have an identical molecular structure to the naturally occurring hormones which are produced in the body. Whereas synthetic hormones are structurally different and do not have the same physiological reaction. 

Comparing body identical and bioidentical hormones

Although body identical and bioidentical hormones are made with similar ‘ingredients’ there are differences between the two. Including the manufacturing process, dosage, delivery, and which hormones are available in terms of estradiol, progesterone, DHEA, and testosterone. For example, body identical progesterone is only available as utrogestan which is an oral capsule rather than a cream. The availability of suitable testosterone preparations for women is also limited. 

Body identical hormones are produced by large pharmaceutical companies in regulated, set doses and application methods, and while this one-size-fits-all approach works for some patients, the dosage and application of body identical hormones cannot be altered to cater to those with more specific needs. 

On the other hand, BHRT can be compounded into a personalised dosage and in different application methods, creating a better solution, with fewer side effects, for many women. Women can choose to have their medication as a cream, sublingual drop, or lozenge, making the treatment fit with their lifestyle and preferences. BHRT is also usually prescribed in much lower dosages than regulated hormones, meaning women experience fewer side effects and can enjoy feeling themselves again in a much shorter timeframe. With BHRT, shortages are rarely faced as individual prescriptions are made in the compounding pharmacy. 

BHRT is prescribed in personalised dosages, based on thorough testing, and produced to order. This means that the pharmacy (which must meet industry standards for purity of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and Good Manufacturing Practice) is able to prepare custom doses and application methods to address the individual needs of a patient.  

“Women around the world face an ongoing needless struggle with hormonal issues. I have made it my life’s work to raise awareness about the treatment and holistic changes that can help them feel themselves again”

As we’re living longer and working later in life, menopause is something that needs to be discussed and women need to feel they have choices in their treatment plans and control of their wellbeing. For too long we have suffered in silence, and it doesn’t need to be this way. There are effective and safe treatments available to women who are experiencing debilitating symptoms such as brain fog, palpitations, anxiety, and sleep deprivation. Whether a woman chooses HRT, body identical HRT or my pioneering method of BHRT, I am on a mission to raise awareness, champion getting life-changing treatment, and offering women choice.

Sue Ryder Awards

Round & About


Nominate inspirational women for 2020 Sue Ryder Southern Women of Achievement Awards

Do you know a woman who deserves recognition for their achievements in the community, business, public service or sport?

If so nominate them for the Sue Ryder Southern Women of Achievement Awards – nominations open on Thursday, 7th November.

The charity for palliative, neurological and bereavement support is calling on people across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire to put forward the names of those who deserve to be celebrated.

The awards, which have been running since 2006, remain one of Sue Ryder’s biggest fundraisers of the year. They are a fantastic way to celebrate the incredible achievements of local women, while also reflecting on the amazing achievements of Lady Ryder – legendary philanthropist and the charity’s founder.


There are seven categories:

Community – sponsored by Invesco

Business – sponsored by Invesco

Sport – sponsored by Russell Partnership Collection


Mentor/coach of the year

Public Service

Robyn Jones Courage Award – sponsored by CH&Co


Nominations will be open for a month, closing on 7th December. Successful nominees for each award category will then be contacted by a member of the Sue Ryder Fundraising team by 20th December.

Winners will be decided by a judging panel, including representatives from each sponsor, and announced at the Southern Women of Achievement awards ceremony on the 13th March 2020 at Phyllis Court in Henley. The awards will be accompanied by a black-tie drinks’ reception and three course dinner. Attendees on the night will also be treated to live musical entertainment, a raffle and silent auction.

Fern Hayes,  Head of Fundraising at Sue Ryder, said: “Celebrating the incredible achievements of so many amazing women across the region is a cause very close to our hearts and something we look forward to year on year. However, we need help to find our wonderful nominees.

“We were overwhelmed by support for the 2019 awards – especially from our brilliant volunteers and sponsors – and hope to drive just as much of a buzz around the 2020 event too.

“The awards are always such a fun and heart-warming event. We encourage everyone across the three counties of Berks, Bucks and Oxfordshire to think about all the fantastic women they have in their networks and consider putting them forward for nomination. We want to make the 2020 awards our biggest and most successful yet.”

To make a nomination