HRT and Me: The Battle for Testosterone

a box of evorel 50 patches, a box of utrogestan 200 tablets and a tube of testim gel

HRT Kit: Evorel 50, Utrogestan 200 and Testim gel

I’ve just taken my first dose of testosterone.  Not because I want to change my gender or take up body-building, but because I would like to feel like a normal woman again.

Back in August I wrote about my menopausal journey so far and my experience with synthetic HRT, namely Prempak-C.  After two months of persistent weight gain I decided to stop taking Prempak-C and returned to my GP to ask if she could prescribe bio-identical HRT.

Not being a fan of bio-identical HRT, she referred me to the Gynae Endocrine Clinic at King’s College Hospital in South East London.  After a two month wait, I finally saw a Consultant Gynaecologist last week.

It wasn’t a moment too soon as I was feeling pretty frazzled.  The calming effects of having a little oestrogen in my body for a couple of months had worn off and I was back to having hot flushes, night sweats and getting either extremely stressed or irritable over the slightest thing.  The other menopausal symptoms that hadn’t been helped by Prempak-C were still persisting, so I was not a happy camper.

I was pretty tense before the appointment, afraid that I would be prescribed synthetic HRT again and have to argue the case for bio-identical HRT, but my worries proved to be unfounded.  From the friendly nurse, who took a detailed medical history, to the calm and reassuring Consultant, my experience at the clinic was extremely positive.

Premature Ovarian Failure

Five minutes into my consultation the Consultant diagnosed Premature Ovarian Failure.  Suddenly it all made sense.  Years ago, in my early thirties, I was diagnosed with premature menopause, but later that diagnosis was changed to PMT with depression. All these years that I’ve been feeling half the woman I’m meant to be are not because of something in my head, it’s because of my poor shrivelling ovaries.

Without prompting, the Consultant prescribed bio-identical HRT in the form of Oestrogen (Evorel 50 patches), Progesterone (Utrogestan 200 mg) and Testosterone (Intrinsa Patches).  Fantastic!  And just what I was hoping for.

The Role of Testosterone in Women

Now, you may be wondering why I have been prescribed testosterone and why I seem so keen to get my hands on the stuff. When I had my hormone levels checked back in June, my testosterone levels showed up as very low at 0.5 ng/dL. From what I’ve been able to ascertain normal levels for women are between 10 and 70 ng/dL, so it’s no wonder my sense of well-being isn’t all it should be.

Testosterone is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands of women and plays a crucial role in a woman’s libido and overall experience of sexual pleasure.  Not only that, testosterone is important in improving bone mineral density and the development of lean muscle mass and strength. It also contributes to an overall sense of well-being and energy levels, can improve mood and outlook and increase feelings of confidence and assertiveness.

Looking at the list of all the roles testosterone plays it seems to me that testosterone could actually play an important role in shaping personality and behaviour. Could my lack of assertiveness and general low mood and low energy be down to my pitifully low testosterone levels, I wonder?

The Battle to get hold of Testosterone

Unfortunately, since then, I have been involved in a bit of battle to try and get hold of the testosterone.

My pharmacist said that he had tried ringing other pharmacies in the area, gone on the internet, but had been unable to get hold of the Intrinsa Patches. Apparently, the marketing authorisation holder for the patches, Warner Chilcott UK Ltd, has voluntarily withdrawn the marketing authorisation for commercial reasons.

Testosterone for Women

Until it was recently discontinued in the UK, Intrinsa was the only form of testosterone that was specifically developed for treating women.It was only licensed on the NHS for women who have had an early surgically-induced menopause, and who are already receiving oestrogen therapy but it was also prescribed privately for women with low libido, or hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).  It came in the form of patches that were easy to apply and supplied a measured dosage over a period of days.

After tracking down my Consultant and asking him for the name of a testosterone alternative I headed back to my GP and asked her to prescribe testosterone gel. Armed with my new prescription I headed off to the pharmacy only to be told there was none in stock so they had to order it in.

When I returned the following day I was told that they had been unable to source it, were still trying, and I needed to come back again the next day. I don’t know if this is just because not many people in South London need extra testosterone or whether it’s a nationwide problem. Still, I applaud my local pharmacy for their persistence.

Today, I finally received my tubes of Testim gel.  The only problem is that the only testosterone available to women is that which has been developed for men and it is not licenced for use in women.

The instructions for men is to apply one sachet of gel or one tube of cream daily.  Simple. For women, the advice given by doctors is to apply one eighth of a sachet or tube daily or one quarter every second day.

There is nothing to measure a standard dose, so women just have to guess the correct measurement.  It all seems a bit hit and miss and it annoys me that women aren’t better catered for by the pharmaceutical industry when it comes to testosterone.

But for now I am grateful that I finally have all the HRT I need to start my treatment.  I have no idea if this particular combination of hormones is going to work or if I will have unpleasant side-effects.  My body feels like a bit of an experiment at the moment and I am curious to monitor any changes, good and bad.  Hopefully I won’t grow a moustache and develop acne and a deep voice.

But I am hoping, that one day soon, I will start to feel more alive and energised, and be able to enjoy my body and this particular time of life rather than feel a victim of my hormones.

I’ll keep you posted.

Further Reading:

Part 1: HRT and Me: The Story So Far

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90 Responses to HRT and Me: The Battle for Testosterone

  1. Cazzie May 26, 2016 at 9:36 am #

    Hello again,
    Reporting back now as have had testosterone implant for a couple of months now and wow – I feel amazing! Shiny hair and high libido. My husband is very pleased too! I feel so much more energetic in my mind too and that’s very positive. So, I highly recommend testosterone implants for women who feel so tired and are post menopause. The only trouble is, I had it done in Australia and I’m now back in the UK. The implant will wear off by September and I will need another one but have yet to find a doctor willing to do it. Fingers crossed that I will before it levels off 🙂 Good luck to everyone – testosterone is an important hormone that women need and it should be much more widely available.

    • Christina July 13, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

      Hi there, you can also get the pellet implant in the USA, if that is at all helpful.
      Desperately seeking testosterone relief myself in the UK.
      Check out Dr. John Stud on Harley Street, London.

      • Caz August 15, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

        Thanks Christina, I will do that. USA is no good for me unfortunately. I did check out Dr Stud at one point but think there was some negative press about him. Will check it out again though. Thanks for the information Angie 😉

  2. Maureen Reene May 7, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

    Hi Annie
    I was previously prescribed testogel and estrogel and left to my own devices so hence with no guidance I haven’t been using the testogel. Previously I was on implants.
    After much struggling and exploring the possibility of needing to pay privately I have finally been referred to gynae endocrinology at King’s who may be able to help.
    I really hope so as I suffer from terrible anxiety night sweats insecurity lack of motivation the list is endless!
    Hope the clinic is worth the wait!

    • Angie Macdonald May 8, 2016 at 9:59 am #

      Hi Maureen. That is the same menopause clinic that I attend so I’m sure they’ll be able to help you. But how alarming to be prescribed Testogel and Estrogel without any guidance. As far as the Testogel is concerned, women need a tenth of the amount of testosterone that men would be prescribed, so the general advice is to make one tube of gel last 8 – 10 days. With Testim gel, I found that amounted to a blob of gel roughly the size of a 20p piece.

  3. Eva Ramos April 6, 2016 at 8:25 pm #

    Angie –

    I am so very happy to have found your website, and specifically your journey through the maze of the NHS with regards to menopause . I too am suffering loads of the symptoms you mentioned and live in South London . Could you please tel me the name of the actual ginocologist you saw at Kings ? Iand if in fact they did issue with a prescription for BHRT?

    Thank you inmmensely I look forward to your reply,


    • Angie Macdonald April 11, 2016 at 3:55 pm #

      Hi Eva. I saw Mr Haitham Hamoda at the King’s College Hospital Gynae-Endocrine clinic. And yes, he did issue a prescription for BHRT. I hope you get the help you need.

  4. Jackie February 29, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

    I’m post menopausal Had a Hysterecomy in my 30 s. I’m 65 now my bones ache ,tired dry eyes no labido at all Dr will not do a blood test for low Teresterone did a test for thyroide that came back negative what advise can anyone give me l live in the uk

    • Angie Macdonald February 29, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

      Hi Jackie. Were you put on HRT after your hysterectomy? I really hope so as you were so young and would have needed the hormones. You could ask your doctor if he will prescribe you Tibolone (brand name Livial). This is a synthetic form of HRT for post-menopausal women and it has androgenic properties, so it can help with libido. Be warned, that because of your age your doctor may be loathe to prescribe HRT. However, particularly if you had both your ovaries removed, it is probably better that you remain on oestrogen at least. As for dry eyes, I suffer from these too. They can be caused by low testosterone or by Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that affects lubrication in the body, resulting in dry eyes, dry mouth and dry vagina. I use Hypromellose eye drops several times a day to help my eyes stay lubricated. They are basically ‘artificial tears’. You don’t need a prescription for them, they stock them behind the counter in all pharmacies.

    • Tanya Johnston March 1, 2016 at 3:34 pm #

      Yes ask for a copy of your levels you may find they are not OK at all.

    • Jackie June 15, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

      Hi sorry it took so long to reply. Yes l did take HRT arfter my hysterectomy for a few years then l came off them due to all the scare in the nine teen eighties . I went private to see a consultant took a blood test Testerone very low prescribed me testogel and eastrdol suposertries paid £ 107 for the prescription ( three months ). This consultant also works at the N H hospital l am hoping he can treat me there as the cost,s are mounting up will he be able to prescribe testogel on the NHS ?

      • Angie Macdonald June 16, 2016 at 11:52 am #

        Hi Jackie. Yes, he should be able to prescribe Testogel on the NHS if he is prepared to prescribe it off-label – this shouldn’t be an issue as he is already somebody who believes in testosterone for women with low levels. The only snag would be if the Clinical Commissioning Group that controls your NHS hospital does not approve testosterone for women and has placed it on a ‘black list’. Then the consultant would have his hands tied.

        • Jackie June 16, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

          The consultant is hoping that my Doctor will repeat the precription when l run out of gel but who knows got to have another blood test in a month,s time to check the teresterone levels ( private again) then l will ask to be treated on the NHS at the Hospital fingers crossed

          • Angie Macdonald June 16, 2016 at 6:24 pm #

            My Consultant wrote a letter to my GP asking him to prescribe the various forms of HRT and I then went along to the GP and asked for the prescription. I don’t know if that can work a similar way if you see the consultant privately, but hope so. Good luck with your NHS referral.

  5. Georgina Law February 11, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

    Hi angie ,i am suffering from no energy whatsover no sex drive foggy brain insomnia ,im 60 years young in may and i have no quality of life whatsoever ive tried to get my gp to prescribe hrt but due to a grade 1small breast cancer removed 3 years ago no one will giveme hrt ,,,my testosterone is .6%,,,,,im t

    • Angie Macdonald February 12, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

      Hi Valerie. Sorry to hear that you’re feeling so awful. I suspect that you’ll find it difficult to find a GP willing to prescribe you HRT now because most studies show that after the age of 60 it is no longer as safe. However, some doctors would be prepared to prescribe it and you would have to make the decision about quality vs quantity of life. I don’t know anything about HRT after breast cancer, but I am aware that depending on the type of breast cancer you had, it can still be safe to take HRT afterwards. Have you had your thyroid and iron levels checked as the symptoms you describe are similar to these deficiencies but could just as well be hormonal.

  6. Christine October 18, 2015 at 11:41 pm #

    As so many women have mentioned, we can be very different from each other in terms of both hormone levels and sensitivity to hormones. That’s why it’s usually best to make decisions based on lab testing rather than on experimentation, or “having a go” at what someone else tried.

    In my own case I was making almost no testosterone and really suffering. Finally I tried the testosterone cream with progesterone pills (to balance the estrogen produced by the testosterone) and within a month had energy, good cognition, and the beginnings of a libido, back.

    Because the cream is messy, inconvenient, and costly, I opted to try a testosterone implant. The first specialiast I went to clearly had no idea of the right way to implant the pellet and it failed. It’s essential to use a trocar to place the pellet several centimetres away from the incision, on the horizontal. If the pellet is simply pushed down into the incision, it has a close to 100% chance of failure.

    The whole procedure was painful and unpleasant because he didn’t know how to administer local anaesthetic correctly, he didn’t stem the bleeding, and he didn’t close the incision. He also had no plan to monitor my testosterone uptake over the coming months. In short he was an incompetent idiot.

    I then found an old GP who’s been doing implants for years and the procedure was incredibly simple and trouble free. He checked my absorption rate prior to determining pellet size, and is monitoring me over the duration of the implant.

    My libido is now fantastic, much like it was in my 30’s when I would say I was in my peak. And all the sensation is back. Compared to having “absolutely nothing” going on down there, I have effortless arousal and full sensation.

    So while testosterone can be good-to-fantastic for some women, it’s crucial to find a doctor who is knowledgeable about hormone testing, and who is properly skilled to do an implant procedure if that’s what you choose.

    It seems there are plenty of incompetent doctors out there and a bad doctor can cost you hundreds of dollars in wasted medication and useless procedures, as well as the aftercare needed while you heal from the mess made.

    Having experienced disaster, I would now put the doctor through the third degree to test his/her knowledge. If you go to Youtube you can see videos produced by licensed doctors who step you through the whole procedure with real patients.

    Make sure:

    Local anaesthetic is applied in sufficient quantity to ensure no feeling in the area, and that he/she tests for numbness before proceeding.

    The incision should be on the back of the hip area (you’ll see why in a moment).

    A trocar should be used to push a small tunnel under the skin, to a distance several centimetres away from the incision. The pellet is dropped into the trocar and then pushed along to the end.

    Immediately roll onto the incision, so that your body weight provides excellent pressure to stop bleeding. This will prevent bruising, and also give better wound closure.

    Do not use surgical glue – any kind of physical activity and it will fail. Use 2 steri strips placed in crosswise fashion to bring the wound together. This is not perpendicular to the wound, each strip is placed at an angle. This gives optimum strength.

    Place a waterproof bandage over the steri strips. This keeps the area dry, but also helps to stabilise the skin around the wound and assist the wound to stay closed.

    Don’t do strenuous physical activity for a week, to avoid pressure on the skin and subsequent failure of the steri strips to hold the wound closed.

    The bandage can come off on the 4th day following the procedure, but the steri strips are left until they come off on their own.

    Your doctor should give you a lab request that you execute in a month’s time, to check how you’re absorbing the testosterone, and its effect on other hormones.

    Hope that’s helpful.

    • Angie Macdonald October 19, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

      Thank you for this in-depth advice, Christine. I’m sure it will be helpful to many women. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get hold of testosterone implants in the UK but for those women who have been prescribed them, this is very useful advice.

      • Cazzie April 6, 2016 at 8:50 am #

        I have just had testosterone and Oestrogen implants (abdomen) area, in South Australia by a fantastic doctor who knows all about this and is very skilled and thorough. Thank goodness I found out about her – Dr Rosemary Jones. I am hoping that in a few weeks time I will feel much more energetic, my skin will improve and my hair will feel less ‘dead’. I am 59 and hope to look and feel so much better soon. I hghly recommend this doctor. Good luck to all women looking for and needing testosterone. When men needed viagra it was rushed out in no time but women needing Testosterone? ‘They’ just don’t care. Not enough research being done into this area and women are needlessly feeling exhausted – very unfair. It’s still a man’s world in this day and age. Disgraceful.

        • Angie Macdonald April 6, 2016 at 5:34 pm #

          Hi Cazzie. Thanks for letting us know about your doctor – sounds like you are one of the lucky ones. I hope you feel the benefits soon.

          • Caz August 15, 2016 at 3:58 pm #

            Oh I definitely do Angie! Hair is back to shiny goodness and my libido is AMAZING! It is wonderful to feel so easily aroused and have so much sensation down there – loving it. Fuller boobs too which I also love as had a 34D bra now a 34DD 🙂 The only downside is some breast sensitivity and pain at times but overall, I am very happy (as is my husband!). As I have said on your other blog page, finding a GP in the UK willing to give me another implant is tough. Not sure what I will do in September when this wears off – can’t bear the thought of it actually and feel very dismayed that the UK just don’t seem to care about older women’s wellbeing regarding the menopause. I have been referred to a menopause clinic so will see what that brings and report back.

            • Angie Macdonald October 11, 2016 at 11:09 am #

              Hi Caz. Sorry I’ve taken so long to reply. I’ve been distracted working on my book about the menopause. I wondered how you’d got and if you managed to find someone to give you another implant or whether you were prescribed testosterone gel.

  7. Louise April 29, 2015 at 4:48 pm #

    Hi 🙂

    I don’t know if you have come across a dosing solution but I bought some 5ml oral medication syringes (the ones for young children) and I spend around 5 minutes sucking the gel directly from the packet in to that syringe and I have my weeks worth of gel ready to store in the fridge and in an easy to measure format 🙂

    I hope that this is useful for you x

    • Angie Macdonald April 29, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

      Hi Louise. Thanks for sharing your dosing solution, that’s very useful. And very organised of you!

  8. liz sidaway September 29, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

    Hi Angie where do I begin to find help for hormone testing treatment? Have many of the symptoms mentioned in Daily Mail. I’m nearly 69 still working and need to, unsure if I can get help from my GP would not prescribe hrt family history of breast cancer. Would so love to feel energized and well.

    • Angie Macdonald September 30, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

      Hi Liz. Sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. I think the first thing is to ask your GP for a blood test to check your testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone levels. Given your age your are obviously post-menopausal and they are likely to be low, but you should check to see if they are in balance and not lower than normal. Hypothyroidism and iron deficiency can present the same symptoms as low testosterone so please ask your GP to check those as well. It’s also important to take stock of your lifestyle and make sure you are not too stressed, are getting enough sleep, eating well, not smoking, drinking in moderation, exercising and so on. All of those things can affect hormones and energy levels.

      Although HRT is not usually recommended for women over the age of 60 there are many women in their sixties, seventies and beyond who are thriving on it. With a family history of breast cancer, if you felt HRT was the right treatment after the blood test results, you would have to do a proper assessment of the risks and benefits. Some women decide that quality of life is better than quantity. Ultimately, it is your choice, but it will help if you can find a GP or Gynae-Endocrine consultant who you can work with in partnership on this matter. Good luck and let me know how you get on.

  9. Sharon August 12, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    9please is anyone using utrogestan and has good results how often should we take it I take it 25 days out of 28 days feel great to start lots of energy but by day20 feel cranky and moody I also use sandrena gel low dose I just want to feel normal

    • Angie Macdonald August 12, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

      Hi Sharon. I’m no doctor but it seems to me that you’re taking way too much Utrogestan. My doctor’s advice to me was to take it for 12 days a month, no more. I start taking it on day 15 of my 28 day cycle. After taking it for about 6 days or so my monthly bleed normally begins. The other important advice it to take it just before you go to bed as it has a calming affect and can make you feel drowsy if taken during the day. It helps me sleep better. If in doubt, have a read of the instructions that come with your pack or go back to your doctor, but it seems to me that 12 days per month is sufficient. Its main purpose is to ensure you have a monthly bleed if you’re taking oestrogen as well.

    • Angie Macdonald August 27, 2014 at 10:21 am #

      Sharon, I should have asked what dosage of Utrogestan you’re on. I’m on Utrogestan 200mg and the dosage for that is one capsule for 12 days, days 15 – 26 of the cycle. But if you are on Utrogestan 100mg then the dosage is one capsule for the first 25 days of each cycle. Alternatively, you could double it, and take 200mg for 12 days. So, Sharon, if you are on 100mg and are still feeling cranky and moody please go back to your doctor to discuss.
      Incidentally, I just found out yesterday that Utrogestan 200mg has been discontinued by the pharmaceutical company Besins Healthcare (UK) Ltd “due to low level of use of this dose”. So now I am waiting to see if my GP will prescribe me double the amount of Utrogestan 100mg so that I can continue as I was.

  10. jane August 11, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    Hi Angie (and followers)
    I’ve just taken a book out of the library called Testosterone- the Secret Female Hormone by Dr Kathy C Maupin of the USA; I’ve found much of the info very useful, although she pretty much only recommends testosterone pellet implants. I’m thinking of buying a copy and lending it to my GP!
    I was prescribed testosterone for exhaustion/M.E. in South Africa – via injection – and it hugely improved my energy levels, controlled my pain, improved my skin and mood, etc. Then I came over to the UK and found it was banned for use by women. Fortunately I’d brought a few ampoules with me, but the docs were very reluctant to inject it, until I told them that if they didn’t, I would find a syringe from a druggie and use that 🙂 I was referred to an endocrinologist who said he would prescribe Testogel for me but I’d have to work out the – minimal – dosage myself as he didn’t prescribe it for women usually. I’ve found that about 2 or 3 drops works for me; I don’t measure it too carefully, and on the days I use too big a blob, I feel much better! I’ve had no side effects that I know of : no voice deepening, no hair growth. But there’s a problem – last time I needed a repeat, I was told that it is no longer licensed because ‘one woman died of a heart attack while using it’. Well, I did think that perhaps she was going to have one anyway, and that it might help thousands of women but harm just a few, so now we all have to suffer because someone was unlucky. I managed to get my GP to prescribe it ‘privately’ which means I now have to pay for it at the pharmacy. I imagine this is the same for all testosterone for women, or do you know of any that’s still licensed for our use on NHS?

    • Angie Macdonald August 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

      Hi Jane. Thank you so much for getting in touch. As someone who is originally from South Africa and had M.E. while I was there, I was fascinated to read that you were treated for exhaustion/ME with testosterone injections. I’ve never heard of it being used for that purpose before but it makes complete sense. I’ve read Testosterone- the Secret Female Hormone by Dr Kathy C Maupin and found it interesting and informative, although it did seem like she spent half the book plugging her own testosterone pellet implants and clinic services.
      About the Testogel – in terms of dosage a woman needs a tenth of the male dosage, so a tube should be made to last you 8-10 days. I find a blob the size of a 20p piece does the trick. Testogel has never been licenced for women, so I don’t know why you’re suddenly been told the story of a woman who died of a heart attack. There is no licenced testosterone product for women in the UK, or USA and probably most of the world, so doctors have to be prepared to prescribe it ‘off-label’. This means that if anything happens to you, the responsibility lies with them personally rather than the pharmaceutical compnay. So, that’s one reason why many doctors aren’t prepared to prescribe it. Others don’t feel comfortable because they don’t know enough about it and the long-term side-effects or they don’t think women need testosterone therapy for whatever reason. It makes me very angry because even though Viagra is known to cause heart attacks in men with cardiovascular problems (which many are unaware of), and dozens of men have had heart attacks and suffered other serious side-effects like sudden loss of hearing and vision, Viagra is still enthusiastically prescribed by doctors everywhere and made very easily available.
      I also don’t understand why you have to have it prescribed privately. It may be that your particular health authority won’t pay for it. You don’t mention if you are peri or post-menopausal. Some doctors are prepared to prescribe it off-label for women who are menopausal and are already taking oestrogen. But I suspect the problem is that you were taking it for exhaustion/M.E. and that is certainly an unorthodox treatment in the UK. In my case, I was referred to an Gynae-Endocrine Consultant who prescribes testosterone for many of his patients and I get it on the NHS. So, if you are menopausal, I would suggest asking for a referral to a menopause clinic and taking it from there. I’d love to hear how you get on.

  11. Denise July 1, 2014 at 10:28 pm #

    I wanted to post that lawley has a bio identical testosterone cream for women called androfeme. I believe anyone can purchase it except those in Australia, where it is sold and needs a script. I am in the US and currently use it. Just wanted to pass on the info to you ladies. I know how awful it is to feel testosterone depleted.

    • Angie Macdonald July 7, 2014 at 11:32 am #

      Hi Denise. Apologies for taking so long to post your comment – I’ve been on holiday. Thanks for sharing this information with us, it’s good to know there are alternatives out there. If women are going to go the independent route, I think it’s important that they monitor themselves closely for any side-effects and have regular blood tests for oestrogen and tesosterone levels to correct any potential imbalances. Thanks again.

  12. Lily December 31, 2013 at 2:21 am #

    I’m now 57 and got referred to the Menopause Clinic when I hit the menopause at 53 (menstruation just stopped completely) and my libido evaporated. I was given testosterone implants for 12 months which I had difficulty with as they gave me back my libido for a couple of months but then it rapidly waned as the implant was depleted and the process of getting the next one could take 6+ weeks. Having no discernable libido for weeks on end was really bad news in a relatively new relationship.

    After 12 months the hospital was no longer able to source the implants and I was given a letter to take to my GP recommending Testogel be prescribed until new implants could be found. They never were, so I’ve been using the gel for over two years now.

    I must admit that I feel like a guinea pig as there is no monitoring at all and I just apply for repeat prescriptions. I have bought and used plant based progesterone and estriol for many years as I didn’t react well to taking prescribed HRT some years ago. The dosage is haphazard and guess work in reality. This does concern me but I am loathe to draw attention to it incase the testosterone is withdrawn or reduced as my GP is not knowledgeable on the subject.

    I feel great, have my libido back (not high but enough to be able to get aroused and orgasm easily several times a week) and manage the testogel dosage through monitoring the adverse side effects. These are slight excess hair at the site of application and on my upper lip and acne. As soon as I lower the amount applied these subside. I also have a noticably enlarged clitoris but don’t class this as a problem.

    For me testosterone has given me back my youth, vitality and sexuality and the opportunity to sustain a relationship which otherwise would have quickly ended.

    I would be interested to know if its possible to get hormone levels tested privately to ensure they’re not really wrong. I hope to continue well into old age and absolutely recommend testosterone for women who have low levels. I’ve had my levels topped-up for 3.5 years now without any problems, only benefits.

    • Angie Macdonald December 31, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

      Hi Lily. Thank you so much for sharing your positive experience of testosterone therapy. It sounds like you have become an expert in monitoring your body for adverse side effects which is good. I can understand your fear of having the testosterone withdrawn or reduced but I think it would be a good idea to monitor your hormone levels regularly (at least once a year), especially as you are self-medicating with progesterone and estriol. I would suggest asking your GP for a referral back to the Menopause Clinic and arranging to have a blood test to check oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels prior to your appointment so that the consultant can discuss them with you.
      Alternatively, depending on which part of the country you’re in, there are a few well known private gynaecologists and doctors like Professor John Studd and Dr Marion Gluck in London who specialise in bio-identical hormones and would certainly test your hormone levels. If you just want to satisfy your own curiosity you could google ‘private blood tests london’ or whatever part of the country you’re in and see if they offer hormone tests. But it is better to deal with someone who is knowledgeable on the subject and open to the idea of women benefiting from testosterone therapy. And long may you continue to benefit!

  13. SHIRLEY December 10, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    I have read with interest your article in the Daily mail.
    I had testosterone and eostregen implants from the age of 39-46, 7 years. I went to Kings Hospital menapause clinic having undergone a complete hysterectomy at the age of 33.
    As ovarys were not removed it was assumed ( in those days ) that they would still function. In fact the ceased to function .
    I went through 6 of the worst years of my life. Every syptom in the book the specialist said I must have been going into an early menapause when I had surgery.My GP at the time was brilliant, but didnt have the information. I found it myself. She started me on oral HRT which put me on the right path, but I wasnt stable. Im was sent to KIngs Hospital. They took blood and notes and the very next day I got a phone call asking me to return straight away as I only had a tiny trace of oestrogen. I had an osreogen and testosterone implant as my testosterone levels were very low. Basicaly I got my life back. They couldnt understand why I needed implants every 3 months. I have since learned after an accident that I suffer with fibromyalgia, which was waiting for a chance to do it’s worst. After 7 years I was put on patches, no testosterone as I lived in a different area. FM is the reason for drugs taken oraly dont always work.
    I finished up having a breakdown partly due to the missing testosterone .
    We moved to Sussex when I was 59. I found a wonderful Australian specialist who offered to carry on with the implants until the patch was available.It never was and I was finding it difficult getting to the hospital so stopped. Since then I have carried on with patches.
    The testosterone made a huge difference, no side effects at all.
    So I really relate to the article weighing up the pro’s and cons of testostrone.
    One thing I will say is having lived with fibromyalgia/ME and many, many othere problems
    my life would be so much improved if I could have testosterone patches. As it is I will never know for sure.
    I am living proof that testosterone implants or otherwise can make a ” huge ” differece.
    I was an auxiliary nurse in my early 40’s, that’s how I was injured. I have learnt so much having suffered so badly with my health all of my life. So many hormone problems.
    I am 71 years old now and still on oestrogen patches, I hear all sorts of scare story’s about ” only being on HRT for a short time ” My Mother had breast cancer in her seventys, my daughter spent her 48th year having chemo and radiotherepy after a mastectomy. I am nothing like my Mother or my daughter. I guess, again from the info I have from fellow FM sufferers that we are all different. Being lumped together to my mind is wrong. I have been fortunate in having helpful GP’s.
    Writing this has made me think maybe I should write a book on the menapause etc.
    Please Ladies dont be frightened to try and get help if your suffering. Its the quility of life that’s important, not the quantanty. My lovely supportive usband is reading this, and has agreed with every word. ( scuse spelling, no spell check ).

    • Angie Macdonald December 10, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

      Hi Shirley. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It sounds like you’ve been through the mill and I’m really happy to hear that you’re still doing well on your oestrogen patches at the age of 71. You make a wonderful point about quality of life being important – I couldn’t agree more.

      Just to clarify, the article in the Daily Mail was written by Jane Feinmann.

      • Kathleen Gregg December 26, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

        Dear Angie, I have read with great interest your article in the Good Health, (December 10th issue), on oestrogen and testosterone implants. I am 77yrs young, though feeling it physically, due to osteoarthritis, which has gone on for years, and is very debilitating, both mentally and physically. my GP can only prescribe Paracetamols as I cannot tolerate anti-inflammatories and allied drugs, some of which have dreadful effects, causing a fall. I had a hysterectomy in my late 40s, which brought on a dramatic early menopause with bad side effects, my query is, I am debating would the treatment you write of, be able to help me even at my age, as it might give me my life back, as at the moment I have none due to illness, my GP’s, all men, do not seem interested in my health problems, as though my life is over, but again, as I have already told one of them it is quality not quantity I am seeking, many thanks

        • Angie Macdonald December 29, 2013 at 11:08 am #

          Hi Kathleen. I’m sorry to hear that you’re suffering so much with osteoarthritis. I am unable to give you any medical advice, but I can say that I have come across a few women in their 70s who are taking HRT and thriving on it. Restoring your hormone levels could have a beneficial effect on your mental and physical health but you would need to weigh up the risks first. But as you say, quality of life, rather than quanity is important for you now. As for testosterone, it is known to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the joints but I doubt whether there are many doctors who prescribe it for treatment of arthritis. However, there are many women who say testosterone has given them their life back. I would suggest trying to find a sympathetic GP who can either help you or refer you to someone who is au fait with both gynae-endocrine issues as well as rheumatology. Good luck!

  14. Joan keenan December 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    Dear Angie,

    I have just read your article I the Daily Mail, this afternoon, regarding the taking of Testosterone during the menopause.
    I am 56 and had a complete hysterectomy in 1993, and have been taking estrogen since then and have never regretted it. About 10 years ago during a routine checkup with my GP he suggested that I have a testosterone implant, as my levels were very low. I was a bit worried about having excess hair and developing a deep voice but was quickly reassured this would not happen. So. I thought I would give it a try and have never looked back. I have one inserted every 6 months, my GP used to do it himself but this changed when I moved and had to change practice. I was then referred to a lovely consultant at the hospital who has continued the procedure ever since. Twice over the last 10 years I have had a problem and the implant has popped out, but all I had to do was contact the clinic and he arranged to see me the following week and put in another one.

    I feel so lucky that I have had so much support over the years and quite sad that so many other woman have to suffer and fight to get support. I would certainly recommend having an implant , I am amazed it is not offered to more women.

    Normally when I have my appointment, I am given a prescription, for the implant and I have it made up by the local pharmacy, and I have noticed that it seems to take a few days to track down the implant.

    • Angie Macdonald December 10, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

      Hi Joan. Wow, I am so impressed that it was your GP who suggested the testosterone implant – you have been very lucky indeed! It’s so good to hear of someone who has had a good experience of testosterone on the NHS – thank you for sharing it with us.

  15. martia October 31, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    also can I also just mention that I think a little bit of testosterone is a good thing to give your libido a boost but I wouldnt consider taking it every day, no wonder you are growing hair and spots appearing etc, you should only need to take a really small amount each month for a couple of days. It is a really strong steroid and should be used with caution. I think you will find that most doctors havnt got a clue when it comes to menopause. martia

  16. martia October 31, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    hello angie, you mentioned that you were getting brain fog and I noticed you were using 200daily utrogestan. Can I just say I went down this road last year and as soon as i started taking the utrogestan it made me depressed, headaches and brain fog also it got so bad that I nearly fainted in a supermarket. I am also on oestrogel which is great and cured my hot flushes. But can I say that you may have progesterone overload or toxicity and I would encourage you to read all you can about progesterone toxicity, quite scary and also I believe that the amount of progesterone I was taking was far too much. I have cut mine down now using serenity cream to about one pea sized amounting to about 10-15ml a day for 7 days. not sure we even need progesterone. Also I found some very interesting articles by bent fornby talking about this very subject (google bent fornby and progesterone toxicity). I had to tell you this as myself thought it was the progesterone I was lacking best martis

    • Angie Macdonald October 31, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

      Hi Martia. You make some very interesting points.
      In my case, the brain fog disappeared soon after I increased my thyroxin dose so I think it was definitely due to my thyroid being underactive.
      I think that if you take progesterone in tablet form you need a higher dose than cream form because a lot of it doesn’t get absorbed via the digestive system.
      It had not occurred to me to consider the effects of progesterone overload but I will definitely research it. Thanks for getting in touch. The more we all educate ourselves about HRT and the menopause the better!

      • martia November 1, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

        hi angie, I was taking the utrogestan by the v route for the last 12 days of my cycle, 55 yrs old having meno, not sure if periods have stopped altogether and I always thought my problem was low progesterone levels, but as soon as I took it i would get a horrendous headache, it changed my mood and made me feel very depressed and then I felt really drugged up, and foggy thinking started. Felt really tired all the time but as soon as stopping the progesterone and went onto the lower dose serenity cream I feel so much better. I just think that taking the lowest dose of everything to eliminate menopausal symptoms is the best way to go. I am not even sure we need to take progesterone to protect the endrometrium.Unfortunately Utrogestan dont do smaller strength, 10-50 mg Give me estrogen until the day I die (oh and also a bit of testosterone plus I highly reccomend a pea size amount of estriol (ovestin) 2 or three times a week, does wonders for the skin on your face (i use it as a face cream ) but also a bit for the bones and atrophy. Again I would strongly reccomend all women to read articles about progesterone toxicity and articles by bent fornby . It also helps to have an understanding doctor who is willing to work with you and to gve you nhs prescriptions for all this stuff. I started taking premarin which was full of horses urine which is the most successful hrt treatment given to women, probably because it is cheap. Just remember, the older you get you are more succeptibal to all sorts of cancers and I just dont believe that estrogen causes cancer taken in sensible doses. Dont believe all the baloney about bioidentical hormones as the people promoting it dont know that much mainly because they are business men. Yes we all want to take as natural a product as possible but you have to listen to your body and do lots of research, just be careful about taking high dose progesterone, best martia

        • Angie Macdonald November 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

          Hi Martia. Your story about your reaction to progesterone reminded me of a friend of mine who had exactly the same reaction. Clearly progesterone does not suit everyone and affects women differently. I take it just before bed for the last 12 days of my cycle and I find it helps me sleep better, which for me, is a very welcome side effect! But I hear you, and agree that it is important that we listen to our bodies, do the necessary research and stick to low doses. Thanks again for your contribution.

  17. Jo September 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    Dear Angie,
    I am so glad that there is someone I can chat to about this.
    I am a 45 yr old pre menopausal female with very regular, heavy periods, and painful regular ovulation.
    Four + yrs ago I felt dreadful, couldn’t do mundane chores etc, depressed and no sex drive. Eventually Dr sent me for blood tests and I had a testosterone reading of < 0.7
    At the same time I was found to have adenomyosis and was on antidepressants for death of husband ten yrs ago and of my father when expecting my daughter 4 yrs ago.
    I was told I couldn't have hysterectomy as I was too young and only that or the coil would help with my disease. I had mirena coil fitted and on the same day a testosterone implant.
    WOW, amazing didn't want the coil, but so far FAB!
    Within four days of testosterone implant I halved my anti depressants, felt alive, out of pain, wanting to tidy and work and live.
    It got infected and came out after four weeks.
    Nine weeks later had another one put in, same thing happened, but it stayed in for ten weeks, and this time libido started to come back too, five days before it came out I had blood test and testosterone level was 2.8
    It is now four weeks on (level at 0.3) and I can not fully explain how utterly foul I feel, have spent most of the day in bed just because I didn't want to see anyone but have just spoken to my Dr.
    My consultant has told him they will not let me have another implant, but I could have Intrinsia patches or gel.
    My Dr looked up price of patches and straight away said too expensive.
    I am waiting now for an appointment to see a female Dr at my surgery, it is a two week wait and it may as well be two years, I don't think I can wait that long.
    Will I be able to buy any gel on the internet myself as it's unlicensed?
    I really am desperate,
    Kind Regards,

    • Angie Macdonald October 2, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

      Dear Jo
      I’m sorry I’ve taken so long to publish and respond to your comment but I’ve been away in South Africa dealing with a family bereavement.

      I hope you’re surviving the long wait to see your doctor. I don’t quite understand why your consultant is not allowing you to have another implant as it obviously made a huge mental and physical difference to your wellbeing.

      Your story is interesting in that you make the link between low testosterone levels and depression. It is so important for wellbeing and yet so many doctors continue to think that it is not important for menopausal women.

      I’m afraid I’m not aware of being able to buy the gel over the internet.
      Good luck and please let me know how you get on.

      • Jo October 15, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

        Firstly, condolences on your loss Angie.
        I have just returned from a very distressing dr appointment, after many telephone calls over the last 3 weeks, from consultant to dr to me.
        My consultant recommends t patches(too expensive say dr) or gel.
        Lady dr I have just seen will not prescribe as it is not licensed, but they have now said they will let ME buy a t implant(if I can find one), my problem with that is the cost and that they keep coming out.
        She has said that women don’t really need t but she will prescribe progesterone hrt to work with my mirena coil and that will sort out some of my symptoms.
        Why will no one see that the only reason I have these symptoms is because I have no testosterone?
        I have just walked out of my surgery shouting and sobbing that I can’t go on and I don’t know what to do….and that is how I am at the mo, typing this still sobbing and feeling very foolish and emotional.
        Life is for living I can’t even walk up the stairs without being out of breath and I have to sit down,

        • Angie Macdonald October 17, 2013 at 9:26 am #

          Oh, Jo, I’m so sorry to hear this. I’m not surprised you are in tears and quite understand your frustration. Is there any way you can get your consultant to prescribe the testosterone gel?

          Testosterone treatment for women is such a grey area – I wish doctors would learn to take it more seriously so that more women are not in your situation. I wish I could help. Please take care.

          • Jo October 17, 2013 at 11:34 am #

            Dr won’t prescribe gel, got to be the cheapest option?
            I have had a tiny break through this morning tho…
            Dr phoned and apologised about the other day, she thought I was menopausal, that’s why she wanted me to try HRT!
            Now she knows the facts she has tried to order an implant for me from abroad and thinks she has been successful, so everything crossed and hope I can get it and a quick appointment at the hospital to have it implanted.
            I will keep you posted,
            A slightly calmer,

            • Angie Macdonald October 17, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

              Oh, phew! Hope things work out quickly. Good luck, Jo!

              • Jo October 23, 2013 at 10:30 am #

                Got testosterone Implant!
                My Dr surgery paid £98 for it, so I have it at home and now have to wait until mid November to have it put in at hospital.
                Can’t wait, may have a great Christmas and family life after all, and if anyone out there feels as desperate as I did keep going to the Dr, don’t let them bully you into other treatments,
                Good luck and thank you so much,
                Kind Regards,

                • Angie Macdonald October 23, 2013 at 10:45 am #

                  Fantastic! That is great news, Jo. I’m so glad your persistence paid off. What you say is so true – if you know what you need, you have to keep on trying until you get it. Have a great Christmas.

                  • Jo November 15, 2013 at 10:22 am #

                    Hi Angie,
                    I had my implant yesterday!!!
                    At last I met my consultant after a year of registars, he is amazing.
                    My incision today is 2 mm, no outside stitching and just a bit of gauze. My last two were both an inch across four stitches in each and big red scars are still visible.
                    I explained that the previous two implants have come out, and I am very worried that if it were to happen again I would have to wait 10 weeks to see him and may not be able to get another implant etc…Never mind my poor family with me going out of my mind.
                    He said if that happened my GP must get me an emergency appointment with him and he would then prescribe me Testim gel and he would have regular contact with me as my GP said they won’t/can’t take on the responsibility of an unlicensed product.
                    So now I have the reassurance of long term help and treatment…. Christmas has come early for me!
                    Hope others have good luck too,

                    • Angie Macdonald November 15, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

                      Jo, what wonderful news! I’m so happy for you. Thanks for the update, very interesting to learn that your GP won’t/can’t take on the responsibility of an unlicensed product as I had wondered what the issue was. Enjoy!!

                    • Jo April 23, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

                      Hi Angie,
                      Just to keep you posted on my implant situation…it started to wear out after exactly 3 months and so I have had 2 months of gradual decline in wellbeing, but after lots of phone calls to consultant and Dr I have just been given a box of Testim Gel!!!
                      Can’t wait to use it, but obviously there are no instructions, so just going to start with 20p size and go from there, I’m so excited it’s silly,
                      Will let you know how it goes in a few days,

                    • Angie Macdonald April 23, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

                      Hi Jo. Thanks so much for keeping me updated on your progress. Gosh, your implant didn’t last very long, I thought they were meant to last for between 4-6 months. I’m glad to hear you’ve been given Testim Gel to tide you over. In my experience, it’s best to try and make each tube last for between 8-10 days and to put it on a different site each day; upper arms, belly and outer thighs, alternating sides as you go. That way you can hopefully prevent hair growth at any particular site. Hope your wellbeing improves soon. Let me know how you go. Angie

                    • Jo May 30, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

                      Hi Angie,
                      Have been on Testim for a few weeks now, and I am feeling much better.
                      Still more tired in day than I was hoping for and still no sex drive!
                      Do you think that these things may gradually come back over a few more months, as the more worrying and debilitating problems have thankfully disappeared or should I use a little more each day? I am rubbing in a tube a week at the moment.

                    • Angie Macdonald May 30, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

                      Hi Jo. Lovely to hear from you again, I appreciate all your updates. Glad to hear you’re feeling much better. Hmmm, there could be a number of reasons why you still have no sex drive. Are you still taking anti-depressants? Some medications can cause low libido, as can various conditions such as hypothyroidism, low iron levels, diabetes and so on. Libido can also be affected by stress, depression, relationship problems, alcohol use and so on. With women, it is such a complicated issue, it’s hardly ever down to one thing only.

                      Also, whereabouts on your body are you rubbing it in? It may be that it’s not being absorbed very well – best to rub it in the more fatty areas for now like the lower belly and outer thighs where it is more easily absorbed. A tube a week is about right – I make my tube last about 10 days as women are meant to have one tenth of the male dose.

                      It took about a month before my libido returned, so hopefully yours will return soon. If not, it may be worth your while checking in with your doctor and having your thyroid checked or discussing other possible causes. Good luck, Jo and please let me know how you get on. All the best, Angie

  18. Jan August 22, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    Hi Angie
    I am having the same problem as you at the moment. I had a total hysterectomy in November 12 after a continuing problem with fibroids. I had a HRT oestrogen and testosterone pellet put in during my operation so that I didn’t have to have sudden menopause to deal with as well as recovering from major surgery. I felt like a new woman – increased energy and well being. I didn’t mind the excess hair that I got as threading was a small price to pay in relation to feeling upbeat!
    However the HRT began to wear off in May and I have been trying to get an appointment at the local hospital to get a new pellet put in. I got caught up with changes to services for women being changed and a lost batch of referrals which included mine so I didn’t get seen until the end of July. I had a blood test and waited a further 2 weeks to find out that the hospital no longer does these on the NHS! I am very tired and irritable.
    My bloods revealed that my testosterone level was 0.6 and I had a debate with the doctor yesterday when I insisted that I needed testosterone because I felt so tired and he said my testosterone level wasn’t important. Thankfully he has seen how determined I am to have this and has instructed the pharmacy to source this for me – I’m not sure in which form it will arrive. I will wait and see what the pharmacy delivers later today along with my first patch of oestrogen Climaval 1mg.

    • Angie Macdonald August 22, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

      Hi Jan

      Thanks for sharing your story with us and sorry to hear you’ve had so much trouble getting your doctor to prescribe testosterone. It troubles me to read that your doctor said your testosterone level wasn’t important. I think this is the common view and many people don’t realise what an important difference testosterone can make to a woman’s general sense of wellbeing.

      I am hearing so many tales of women struggling to get testosterone prescribed on the NHS and realise how lucky I am. It’s unfair that some women in the country can have it prescribed easily and others not at all.

      I’m going to go away and do some research for another blog post on this topic and will share my findings on the website in due course.

      I hope the pharmacy sources the testosterone for you and you feel better soon. Good luck!

      • Jan August 23, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

        I had my hrt tablets arrive but no testosterone as yet as they couldn’t source the injections. I have asked my doctor for some gel instead – fingers crossed!

        • Angie Macdonald August 23, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

          Hi Jan. That’s good news. I am using Testim gel – a 20p sized blob every day and I make one tube last over 10 days. From what I know, as someone who has had a hysterectomy you should have no problem being prescribed testosterone. Fingers crossed indeed!

          • Jan September 25, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

            Hi Angie
            I finally managed to get testosterone via an implant today a few stitches in my tummy but as I have a vertical hysterectomy scar I’m not that bothered. Have to go back in 6 months. May be difficult to get hold of these but the consultant is reluctant to prescribe me gel. He keeps banging on about libido being the only advantage but I keep telling him that I felt much more human and a new woman with testosterone in the mix – nothing to do with sex drive just energy!

            • Angie Macdonald October 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

              Hi Jan
              Congratulations on finally getting your testosterone implant! I commend you on your persistence – it sounds like you have had quite a battle to get the treatment you need. Thank you for keeping me updated on your testosterone journey – I love hearing about other women’s experiences.

              I must apologise for taking so long to publish and reply to your comment but I have been away in South Africa dealing with a family bereavement.

  19. Louise Sinclair May 22, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    I started using testosterone in February and along with the progesterone and oestradiol it has really put a zing into my life. Reduced abdominal fat, enhanced sexual response, bouncier hair and a calmer outlook on life.
    At present I’m using testim ( given to me by a friend) I monitor myself for signs of excessive usage i.e spots or facial hair. I use a pea sized blob daily and I feel great. When push comes to shove I will either have my GP prescribe it or if he proves stubborn I shall source it privately. I will not be fobbed off by scare mongering or NHS politics.
    Great to find this thread Angie.

    • Angie Macdonald May 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

      Go for it, Louise! Glad to hear testosterone has put a zing in your step.

      I have recently had to reduce my dose of Testim gel as my blood test results came back rather high. Since then I’ve also noticed that I’ve started growing dark hair on my stomach where I was rubbing in the gel so I guess I need to reduce the dose even further.

      Unfortunately, I am still waiting for testosterone to work its magic and reduce my abdominal fat and give me back my libido. Back to see the consultant at the end of June and then we’ll see.

      Good luck with your GP.

      • Louise Sinclair May 22, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

        Hi Angie
        Uzzi Reiss recommends rubbing testosterone into the soles of the feet to avoid unwanted hair – might be worth a try and have you had your thyroid tested.
        I highly recommend Hormone Solution by Thierry Hertoghe

        • Angie Macdonald May 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

          Hi Louise. Thanks for the tip – will definitely switch to rubbing it into my feet and will check out the book – thanks for the recommendation, I haven’t come across that one before.

          Yes, speaking of thyroid checks, I went to the doctor last week complaining of tiredness and brain fog and had a blood test for thyroid, glucose, Vitamin D and iron. She’s sent a letter asking me to come back to discuss results but so far it’s been impossible to get an appointment. I will persevere. Thanks again.

          • Louise Sinclair May 22, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

            Hi Angie
            If your thyroid is showing symptoms but your lab references are normal be aware that the majority of doctors only test TSH or at a push T4 and T3. I had raised thyroid auto immune markers which only showed when I went privately and had peroxidase and other tests performed .
            Re books I also strongly recommend Uzzi Reiss Superwoman but to me it sounds as though your estradiol might be slightly too low to balance your testosterone.
            I have used hormones since 2008 and it can be a struggle to keep them in balance but worth while.

            • Angie Macdonald May 22, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

              Hi Louise
              Thank you so much for your very useful suggestions – will be popping along to a certain online bookstore shortly to place an order for the books you recommended.
              Yes, I don’t think I’ve ever been tested for T3 – in fact when I once asked for it, I think my GP said it was difficult to get it done on the NHS. I’m already taking Thyroxine, but may have to up the dose.
              Interesting, about the oestradiol being too low to balance testosterone – I’m having those levels checked again in June. I guess I’m still in the finding the balance stage – so far it’s been 7 months and I haven’t got it right yet but encouraging to know that you have.

              • Louise Sinclair May 22, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

                I notice you are using patches. Sometimes delivery can be erratic and many of the ladies on Menopause Support use oestrogel which is easier to tailor in dosage.
                The problem with blood references is often they will come out normal or high for your age group which of course doesn’t mean optimal hormone levels for the requirements of your body.
                Symptoms are far more indicative of hormone ranges than blood test results where it comes to circulating levels of sex hormones.
                Wading through NHS protocol can be a minefield but I use the Official British Menopause book.
                The NHS tries to prescribe cheaper options and oestrogel is costlier than patches or pills. However if you present with a skin rash while using patches you have a valid reason to obtain the gel 😉

                • Angie Macdonald May 23, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

                  Thanks, Louise. Interesting to find out about oestrogel. I’ll ask the consultant for that when I see him and see what he says.

  20. Louise May 22, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    At last a woman after my own heart who isn’t embracing menopause

  21. Fiona April 21, 2013 at 1:10 am #

    This thread is such a find. I was so dismayed when I was told I could no longer receive intrinsa having found it essential following ovary removal and finally being offered it along with my hrt to regain sexual desire along with motivation. I also believe it affects me in other mentally positive ways. Online I managed to get the last pack of 8 and by having the patch in half have 8 weeks left before I am back to square one! I will pursue the product thanks to the previous comments and also given hope with the alternative pea sized amount of male testosterone. I will pass all this on to my GP as usual the research has to come from places like this and not the GP! Here’s hoping! Thank you again.

    • Angie Macdonald April 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

      Hi Fiona. I’m so pleased to hear you found the information about Intrinsa and testosterone gel useful. It’s frustrating having to educate GPs but the more we can help each other the better. Knowledge is power! Good luck.

  22. Ambreen March 2, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

    Ladies, the very same female testosterone patches are still available in the UK and are being distributed by HFA Healthcare Limited ( who have taken over this product from Warner Chilcott. It is still available on the NHS.

    • Angie Macdonald March 8, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

      Ambreen, thank you so much for sharing this with us. A lot can change in a few months and I had no idea that Intrinsa patches were still available. I think the thing to do is to provide this information to our pharmacists – there is a number on the HFA Healthcare website that pharmacists can call to place an order:
      Thanks again!

  23. Eladora February 14, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    Hi Angie
    I wondered how you are getting on with your testim gel. I have been using intrinsa patches for the past few years and had no idea they were discontinued until this week – shock! I found a chemist who found me 2 months supply, which gives me some thinking time.
    so i wondered how you were doing?
    best wishes

    • Angie Macdonald February 14, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

      Hi Eladora.

      Thanks for your comment. It inspired me to write a blog post about how I’ve been getting on with the Testim gel and the other HRT. Here’s the link:

      In general, measuring the right amount of gel takes some trial and error, but once you’ve established what looks like the right amount each day – a blob that’s about the size of a 20p coin or which completely covers your fingertip – it’s no different to applying any other preparation to the skin. Another benefit, which I forgot to mention in my post, is it smells very nice!

      Good luck. I hope your chemist is able to supply you with the gel easily. Let me know how you get on.

      Warm wishes,

    • AJ March 2, 2013 at 2:28 am #

      Dear Eladora

      We heard it had been discontinued from our pharmacist too, but with a bit of www digging we found that there is a firm trying to save the product and they can supply no problem. see here

      We kept digging then we found this

      We got our regular prescription and found out that there is plenty available.

      Just thought I’d let you know…


      • Angie Macdonald March 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

        Amanda, thank you so much for sharing this information and keeping us all up to date. Great to know that there is plenty out there. Thanks again!

      • Eladora April 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

        Dear Amanda and Ambreen

        I’ve only just checked back and seen the good news about Intrinsa, which is timely as I have about 2 weeks supply left. Thank you so much for sharing.
        Now to see if the pharmacist can get hold of them!

        I’ll let you know

        Otherwise I have found some options available here:
        Many thanks

        • Angie Macdonald April 2, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

          Hi Eladora. Good to hear from you again. Thanks for sharing the information about alternative treatments – it’s all very useful! I hope your pharmacist is successful in finding you a new supply of Intrinsa based on the information supplied by Ambreen and Amanda.

          As far as my own testosterone treatment is concerned, my latest blood test shows that my testosterone levels are raised and the consultant suggests lowering the dose. I’m loathe to do that as I feel I am not feeling any of the benefits that testosterone is meant to provide – if anything I’m more tired than ever! Perhaps it’s just the result of a very long, cold winter.

          Good luck and let us know how you get on.

  24. Grooth November 13, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    Very interesting, I had no idea testosterone is being given to women as part of treatment. I can testify that a bit of testosterone puts a spring in your step – hope it does the same for you!

    • Angie Macdonald November 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

      Thanks, Grooth! I’m really looking forward to feeling the benefits of testosterone. The whole subject of women and testosterone, and hormones in general, is fascinating.

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