HRT and Me: My Experience of Prempak-C and Weight Gain

Prempak-C HRT box and tablets

On Sunday I took my last dose of HRT.  After a couple of months on Prempak-C I decided that I wasn’t prepared to live with the side effects.

Prempak-C and Weight Gain

Looking through the photos of myself taken over the Summer the change in my appearance was obvious. Over the course of two months my face had become more and more puffy, so much so that I looked like I was developing the moon-face associated with taking steroids.  And my tummy, which was bit big to begin with, had become considerably more bloated and was growing fatter by the day. Even though I changed my eating habits and upped my exercise, still my belly continued to grow.

Peri-menopausal Symptoms

It had been a bit of a battle to convince my GP to prescribe HRT for me in the first place.  Back in early June, while seeing my doctor about yet another Urinary Tract Infection, I mentioned that I would like to start HRT. After suffering with peri-menopausal symptoms for the past seven years I was at my wits end. I felt I couldn’t take another day of hot flushes, night sweats, heart palpitations and levels of irritability that turned me into a snapping, short-fused crazy woman. Not to mention the other symptoms which have been affecting my relationship with my partner.

I had gone to the appointment armed with a list of menopausal symptoms the length of an A4 page and several print-outs from the internet about the benefits of bio-identical hormones.  After reading about the negative effects of synthetic HRT, I was determined to go the natural hormone route.

The Battle for Natural Progesterone

In fact, this was not the first time I’d spoken to a GP about trying bio-identical hormones. About a year earlier I had seen a female GP and asked her to prescribe natural progesterone for me as I thought I was displaying all the symptoms of oestrogen dominance.

Her response was that she was unable to prescribe anything natural, only patented drugs, and that my best bet was to try something off the internet and to monitor myself with regular blood tests.  I eventually gave up the idea of self-administering natural progesterone as my periods were very irregular and it seemed very complicated trying to work out on which days of my cycle to apply the progesterone cream.

However, I have since learned that natural progesterone has been available on prescription on the NHS for a while in the form of a pill called Utrogestan. The problem is that not many doctors know about it.

No HRT For Me Until the Menopause

On this recent occasion my GP initially refused my request for HRT saying that he could only prescribe HRT for women who had already been through the menopause and were not peri-menopausal.

I think my jaw almost hit the ground at that point. The fact is that the symptoms of peri-menopause, which can last for years, are far worse than those experienced after menopause.  It is during the peri-menopause stage that a woman’s body is struggling to adapt to falling levels of oestrogen and progesterone.  My response was, ‘But this could go on for years.  I can’t live like this for however many more years!’ Eventually, he relented and agreed to send me for a blood test.

A few days later he phoned back to say the blood test showed I’m in the throes of menopause and apart from low oestrogen and progesterone I also have very low testosterone. I felt vindicated at last. He then referred me to a female GP who’s more au fait with HRT.

Bio-identical Hormones – ‘Too much Fuss and Bother’

When I saw the female GP I told her I would like to try bio-identical hormones.  She was rather dismissive, saying that it was a lot of fuss and bother to take them. I got the impression she wasn’t familiar with them.  She convinced me to give normal synthetic HRT a try, saying that most of her patients had had good results with Prempak-C and it was very easy to take as the oestrogen and progesterone tablets were packaged together and it was clearly marked when you had to begin taking the progesterone.

Side-effects and Benefits of Prempak-C

I agreed to give it a try, but I didn’t feel happy about it. For one thing, I know that Prempak-C is made from pregnant mare’s urine, which I find a bit disturbing. And the list of side-effects from taking Prempak-C, which includes stroke, cancer and blood clots, is alarming.

But I  find it very difficult to argue with doctors and push for what I want, especially when they seem very reluctant to prescribe something I want. I wish I didn’t – after all it is my body!  This is something I obviously have to work on.

And so I started taking Prempak-C HRT at the end of June.  The first thing I noticed was that I was very bloated within hours of taking it. But on the plus side, my hot flushes, which I had been experiencing every 15 minutes some days, just disappeared.  And the night sweats which had disturbed my sleep for years reduced in number to just one in the early morning. I think I’ve also been a bit calmer, less stressed out by things and definitely less irritable.  All these things have been real pluses and have definitely added to the quality of my life.

But the weight gain and bloating have been unbearable and have just made me feel worse about myself.  Menopause has not done much for my self-image as it’s made me feel old and emotionally volatile. Also, I’m still experiencing breast tenderness and a host of other symptoms that have not been improved at all.

Next Steps

So, it’s back to square one.  I’ve an appointment to see the GP again and this time I am going to push to be prescribed bio-identical hormones. I prefer the idea of taking something that is derived from natural sources and is easily recognised by my body. But I suspect it may be a bit of a battle to convince her.  If that doesn’t work, then I’m considering going private. I’ve heard Dr Marion Gluck does good work and I’m currently reading her book, It Must Be My Hormones. I don’t really want to go private as it will be expensive, but in the end, it might be worth it.

If you’ve had experience of taking bio-identical hormones and can recommend a good doctor in London I would love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment below or send me an email via the Contact page.

Further reading:

Part 2 – HRT and Me: The Battle for Testosterone

Article in the Daily Mail:  Should middle-aged women be taking natural HRT?

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45 Responses to HRT and Me: My Experience of Prempak-C and Weight Gain

  1. Kate March 9, 2017 at 9:50 pm #

    Hi there, I’ve just started my third month of Prempak C after suffering 7 years of menopause symptoms – hot flushes, sleepless nights, brain fog etc. So far it has been transformational – I sleep through, no hot flushed and my brain is sharp again. However, I have just started to feel hungry ALL THE TIME and I wondered if this is a common side effect? I’ve found a couple of mentions of increased appetite and lots on weight gain – if I give in to the hunger pangs I’ll certainly be putting on weight!

    • Angie Macdonald March 19, 2017 at 11:26 am #

      Hi Kate. Glad to hear the Prempak-C is working for you. I am not aware of HRT having any effect on appetite. Any weight gain from Prempak-C is likely to be due to bloating from water retention. Hunger pangs are often caused by dehydration so make sure you are drinking enough water. Often drinking a glass of water can make them go away. Also, make sure you are eating regularly, every 3 – 4 hours or so, to maintain your blood sugar levels and prevent any energy lows or feeling so hungry you’ll eat anything. I find eating 3 meals and 2 snacks a day does the trick and make sure they all include some protein.

  2. Jan December 26, 2016 at 6:54 pm #

    Hi I’ve been on prempak-c for around 8 months now because the sweats were so bad my hair and clothes were constantly soaking even my bed was soaking.
    So the prempak-c had managed to control that, but find that for about 3 weeks I’m swollen in the run up and aftermath of the period. But i find the week before the period i suffer extreme depression, I’m suicidal for no reason.
    I don’t know how much longer i can suffer this i was suicidal last night, only thing that stopped me was the thought of my mother and brother it would kill them.
    I’m seeing my doctor on Thursday I’m going to ask him to change my meds i have vitamin replacements but i don’t know if they’ll work for me.
    I’m at my wits end….i actually wish i was dead because my life is horrible now.

    • Angie Macdonald December 27, 2016 at 10:20 am #

      Hi Jan. Sorry to hear what you’re going through. It sounds to me that you are progesterone intolerant. I too have felt the same way and luckily I realised it was the progesterone that was making me suicidal and not reality, so to speak. Clearly Prempak-C is not the right form of HRT for you. You could ask your doctor to prescribe a bioidentical form of progesterone in the form of Utrogestan tablets or Cyclogest vaginal pessaries to be taken with an oestradiol patch or gel. However, if you are progesterone intolerant I suspect that the PMS symptoms will persist, but perhaps not so severe. Some doctors prescribe progesterone in the form of the Mirena coil, or in some cases a low dose of progesterone for only 7 days a month instead of 12. Just remember it’s the progesterone talking when you have suicidal thoughts. I have stopped taking HRT now because I couldn’t handle the side-effects from the progesterone any more. I hope you find a solution. Best of luck.

    • Deb foster December 28, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

      Hi I have taken it for a month and ballooned ! It is horrible so I fully understand, and having just read the leaflet to see if it could be these tablets I am disturbed at the possible side effects
      I really don’t know what to do?!!

      • Angie Macdonald January 23, 2017 at 11:43 am #

        Hi Deb. There are so many other types of HRT that are available, including bioidentical HRT in the form of patches, gels and progesterone tablets or pessaries. If your symptoms persist, please speak to your doctor and ask to change. Even so, it’s worth changing from Prempak-C. Read my article all about how Prempak-C and similar HRT is made from pregnant mares’ urine: http://writehealth.co.uk/premarin-hrt-pregnant-mares-urine/

  3. Heather November 3, 2016 at 11:19 am #

    I’ve been on prempac 0,625/0.15 about 2 years. It’s wonderful – helped memory, hot flushes, dryness, mood, libido and dramatically improved my skin as a side effect (I have sarcoidosis). The only thing I get is bloating for just third/half the month (prog pills in the pack) which is a bit uncomfortable but is better than all the other usual symptoms.

    • Angie Macdonald November 10, 2016 at 6:38 pm #

      Hi Heather. I’m glad Prempak-C is working for you. Unfortunately, many women suffer side-effects from progestogen, some worse than others. If the symptoms are bad you could try a different type of HRT as there are many different types of progestogen available as well as natural progesterone. However, my experience of both natural and synthetic progesterone is that they both have horrible side-effects.

  4. Donna September 18, 2016 at 8:59 pm #

    Hi Angie,

    Thanks for this great article and replies, my sister has been on Prem pac cfor almost 10 years (from the age of 31!) due to irregular periods. She is thinking of requesting another prescription when my brother said we should look on line for alternatives (as she is dyslexic) im doing the research for her. Ill go with her on her next visit and push for the Bioidentical HRT thanks alot.. what do you think of vitamins C&E and evening primrose etc..?

    • Angie Macdonald October 11, 2016 at 11:02 am #

      Hi Donna. I have never heard of a woman being put on proper HRT at such a young age to treat irregular periods. I think that is quite shocking unless it was suspected your sister was having an early menopause. Normally women would be prescribed the pill if they are not menopausal. I’m sorry I’ve taken so long to reply to this comment – I trust you’ve already seen the doctor with your sister. I hope she was prescribed bioidentical HRT, although it is debatable whether she will need it yet at the age of 41. As far as I’m aware evening primrose oil is good for PMS, but I don’t know what impact those vitamins have on irregular periods.

  5. Angela Rinaldi August 10, 2016 at 11:46 am #

    Hi Angie,
    I have been taking Prempak C for 6 years, initially taken to treat menopausal symptoms of hot flushes, dizzyness and heart palpitations. I have decided to stop taking it and wonder if you or any other ladies out there have any advice on how best to do this ie. stop immediately or step down gradually.

    • Angie Macdonald October 11, 2016 at 11:12 am #

      Hi Angela. I’m so sorry I’ve taken ages to reply to your comment. I’ve been distracted writing a book about menopause. You should always wean yourself off HRT very gradually. I’m not sure how you would do that with Prempak-C so you would need to speak to your doctor. I gradually weaned myself off bioidentical HRT over the course of a year, reducing my dose every four months. Four months is usually how long it takes for the body to adapt to hormonal changes.

  6. Stefan April 21, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

    Hi Angie,

    For the last 5 months my wife (43 yo) has issues which after a scan and some other tests where attributed to endometriosis. She is due to see a GP trough NHS in June. That’s 7 months waiting. Meanwhile she put up with pain at night, bad sleep and bloating. Her weight went up 1/2 stone, 15% of her body weight, which is quite a lot as she is petite. Her weight stabilized as she is extremely careful with her nutrition.
    A few weeks ago she was abroad in Eastern Europe visiting. We can’t really afford private care in UK but she seen there two leading gynecologists and an endocrinologist. The gynecologist recommended her a partial hysterectomy (ovaries won’t be touched) as the only solution to her night pains. The endocrinologist did blood tests and said that the results are normal, she isn’t premenopausal but she recomanded to have her coil removed and have instead an implant as actually the coil might be the cause of her night pain. She has a coil for the last 18 years, changing it every 5 years and she was fine, no side effects, weight gain or depression. Last one, a mirena coil was installed about a year ago. She feels that this coil isn’t in the right place comparing with all the others and she is due to have it removed tomorrow and have instead an implant. I have a few questions if you could help:

    1. I am concerned about the implant as I think the coil has a more localised action, the amount of hormones used been smaller where the arm implant might use a bigger amount of hormones in the blood to get to the womb so the side effects that over the 18 years were very small in this case might be amplified ?
    2. We have a child and we do not plan to have more. Is there any way of anticonceptive than coil, implant, pills or condoms ?
    3. Many years ago I read ‘It must be hormones” by Marion Gluck and I recommended to my wife just as an educational book. I wasn’t really interested in the ‘case studies’ as that seemed to me more of a self advertising chapter for her clinic but I found very interesting the first half of the book about bio identical hormones. I am thinking that a treatment there might help her endometritis saving her from histerectomy. Unfortunately we are just ordinary couple and a visit and tretement at Marion’s clinic will put a very big dent on our finances. Do you think that is it worth to make the financial effort to go there or the routes you described trough NHS and the bioidentical hormones available with it are as good ? Are the so called personalised hormonal creams of bioidentical hormones Marion is using so much better than the ones in NHS ?
    Kind Regards, Stefan

    • Angie Macdonald April 21, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

      Hi Stefan. I am so sorry to hear about your wife’s pain. I’m afraid I’m completely out of depth on this issue as I don’t know very much about endometriosis. However, from what you say, I think that your wife’s instincts about the Mirena coil could be the most obvious cause of her current pain. I have heard stories from other women who’ve been in agony with it and feel much better the minute it is removed. I hope this is the case with your wife. I’m not sure what implant she is going to be given, so it is difficult for me to comment, but it is likely to be a bigger amount of hormones. I don’t know of any other forms of contraception other than the ones you mention. One of the treatments for endometriosis is the contraceptive pill, so this could be one of the treatments your wife tries.
      As far as bioidentical hormones are concerned, I do think the bioidentical hormones prescribed by the NHS are as effective and probably safer than compounded hormones prescribed by private doctors because they have gone through a proper testing process. Many private doctors prescribe exactly the same hormones that patients receive from the NHS. If your wife is prescribed progesterone she should ask for a natural form of progesterone, either Utrogestan capsules or Cyclogest vaginal pessaries. These are available on the NHS. But they are not a contraceptive in the way the Mirena coil is and so she will need to take additional contraception.
      Gynaecologists are overly fond of performing hysterectomies, in my opinion, and a hysterectomy should only be considered as a last resort. Have you had a look at the Endometriosis UK website – it provides some useful information: https://www.endometriosis-uk.org/ . I do hope that your wife gets the help she needs soon. It might be worth your while asking your GP for a referral to a NHS Endometriosis Specialist Clinic such as the one at Guys and St Thomsas’ in London, http://www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/our-services/gynaecology/specialties/endometriosis-clinic.aspx but there are others around the country: http://bsge.org.uk/ec-BSGE-accredited-centres.php. Best of luck, Angie

      • Stefan April 22, 2016 at 12:06 am #

        Thank you Angie,

        Hopefully she is going to have the Mirena removed tomorrow assuming there aren’t any complications in regards to the position. We still don’t know if she should try to have the implant for a few months or not. The implant is the same like Mirena: a contraceptive that relesease progestogen. It has the size of a match stick and is implanted under the skin on the under arm.
        I did find out that there is a copper coil not a hormonal coil like Mirena that is as efficient as a contraceptive and last for 10 years. We were thinking that will be ideall to use as contraceptive and as she isn’t yet at menopause she shouldn’t need any HRT yet. Except for her Endometriosis where apparently the progestin release Mirena or implant help. So I’ll have to inquire if she could take the bio identical one instead.
        Once again, thank you for your advise,
        Kind Regards, Stefan

  7. ElspethC October 30, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

    Hi, thanks for all of this. I was diagnosed with premature menopause at 30 (am now 33!). This is emotionally so much to handle. My doc has prescribed prempak c to me today and as I currently have laringitis I couldn;t ask her any questions! Doc told me this is my only option now and looking through the leaflet I am absolutely petrified of starting this. I have osteopenia so know I need to protect my bones but the thought of even more weight gain is scary/depressing and the potential risks of strokes, cancer, dvt etc do not seem to be worth the risk! My Dr does not really seem to care considering my age so I am feeling utterly alone in all of this right now! Any thoughts are welcome! xx

    • Angie Macdonald October 31, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

      Hi Elspeth. I’m so sorry to hear about your premature menopause and even more sorry to hear that your doctor prescribed Prempak-C. As you know, I am not a fan of the stuff because it has so many side-effects and has been implicated in thousands of cases of breast cancer and so on. Before you go back to your doctor I urge you to read my article about this kind of HRT which is made from pregnant mare’s urine: http://writehealth.co.uk/premarin-hrt-pregnant-mares-urine/
      However, it is important that you are on HRT and you will need to stay on it until you are of normal menopausal age – around 51. If I were in your position I would forgo the Prempak-C and go back to your doctor and ask for bioidentical HRT that is available on the NHS. Bioidentical oestrogen is available in the form of patches or gel, for example Evorel patches (which I take) or EstroGel and bioidentical progesterone is available in the form of a tablet, Utrogestan 100mg, or a vaginal pessary, Cyclogest. Bioidentical HRT is easily recognised and metabolised by your body because it has exactly the same molecular structure as the hormones produced by your body and so you are less likely to experience horrible side-effects. Also, oestrogen is much better absorbed via the skin and it takes pressure off your liver. Synthetic progestins have been found to increase the likelihood of breast cancer, but not natural progesterone. If your GP refuses to prescribe this, then please ask her to refer you to someone who is prepared to, or to refer you to a menopause clinic at your nearest hospital. Have you come across http://www.daisynetwork.org.uk/ – it is a website for women who have experienced early menopause or premature ovarian failure and you might find more information and support there. Good luck and please let me know how you get on.

  8. foma April 3, 2015 at 1:09 am #

    Hi Angie. am 50yr old Just wandering I have been pescribe prempak c and just so afraid to take it after reading all the side effects. It took a while before my GP could pescribe it. Is there any hrt one can take without swallowing something in your body. Am just bearing the hot flushes. Itchy face and all other symptoms.

    • Angie Macdonald April 7, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

      Hi Foma. Unfortunately Prempak-C is more likely to cause side-effects in women but it is usually prescribed because it is so much cheaper than other forms of HRT. You can get HRT in the form of oestrogen patches or gel and progesterone in the form of Utrogestan capsules or Cyclogest pessaries. Both these forms of HRT are bioidentical and many women find they have fewer side-effects with them. It is also much safer to take oestrogen in the form of patches or gel as then it doesn’t have to be processed by your liver. Have another chat with your GP and see if he/she can prescribe HRT in a different form. If not, then please ask for a referral to a menopause clinic near you.

  9. Carol Westwood January 19, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    Hi just wanted to say I’ve been on prempak from about a year ive drop from size 12/14 to an size 8 I was 9/12 stone im now 8/5 I hate it I eat the same as I did last year so it’s not like I’m trying to lose it ps my hubs loves it I hate it from reading on here I dont think its the tabs as not read it makes you lose only that you gain ive been tested for everything going and all come back fine so don’t know why anybody help me on this one I would be greatfull x

    • Angie Macdonald January 20, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

      Hi Carol. Your symptoms are very unusual – I haven’t come across anyone who’s lost weight on Prempak-C, normally it’s the opposite way around. You say you’ve been tested for lots of things: did they check your thyroid function and for diabetes? The NHS Choices website has some useful information: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/unexpected-weight-loss/Pages/Introduction.aspx . I hope you find out what’s causing your weight loss soon. Has anyone else had a similar reaction to Prempak-C?

      • sarah November 8, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

        I have been on Prempak-C for a year now i too lost weight about 2 stone,but now it has reversed and i am putting on weight,my moods have got worse and i feel very low,we have no female dr’s at our surgery they have left so when i speak to the male dr they do not understand.

        • Angie Macdonald November 9, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

          Hi Sarah. I’m sorry to hear about this. It sounds like Prempak-C is no longer agreeing with you and the sooner you change your HRT the better. If your mooods are very low it is likely that you are reacting to the progestin in Prempak-C. The best thing to do would be to ask your doctor to refer you to a menopause clinic at a nearby hospital. Once you see a consultant I would suggest you ask for bioidentical HRT in the form of oestrogen patches or gel and progesterone tablets or vaginal pessaries. You are likely to have fewer severe side-effects from a bioidentical product than from a synthetic product like Prempak-C which is made from horse urine and is not easily metabolised by the body. It also sounds like you need to find the right dosage for you, which may take some time and experimentation. I hope you feel better soon.

  10. Aileen January 15, 2015 at 9:34 am #

    Hi all….just a quick one as im running late but you’re asking for specialists…..professor studd in London seems to be the guru in all this menopause, osteoporosis and bio identical. Look at his website. http://Www.studd.co.uk. Ive just started on oestrogel with him. I start the testosterone today and will be taking Utrogestan in a few weeks.

    • Angie Macdonald January 15, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

      Thanks for this, Aileen. Yes, Professor Studd has been advocating the wonders of HRT for many years and is a British pioneer in the field. I saw him years ago when he was still at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital for treatment of my so-called PMS, which turned out to be Premature Ovarian Failure in the end.
      When you start taking the Utrogestan remember to take it at night, before bed, as it has a calming effect. It will make you sleep better but if you take it in the morning it could make you drowsy.

      • Aileen January 15, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

        Oh. Ok. Thanks for letting me know.

  11. Vanessa Randall December 1, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    Would you explain to me how the Utrogestan works? Is it oestrogen patches only, or can you take a capsule instead, and what is the dosage of oestrogen and progesterone it gives?

    I am on 0.625 mg Prempak C at the moment and would like to find something more natural to combat bloating and tiredness, but I find too much oestrogen does not agree with me.

    • Angie Macdonald December 1, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

      Hi Vanessa. Utrogestan is progesterone only. It comes in the form of 100mg capsules. I take 2, so 200mg a time. It’s the only form of bioidentical progesterone available on the NHS and is a micronised progesterone and structurally identical to the progesterone produced by a woman’s body. You have to take it for 12 days of every 28 day cycle – usually on days 15 – 26 and at some point in those 12 days you will get your period.
      The bioidentical oestrogen I take is in the form of patches. I take Evorel 100, but you can get a lower dose, Evorel 50 patches. You have to change these patches twice a week. These are both available on the NHS and your doctor will be able to prescribe the right amounts for you. I hope you get on well with the bioidentical HRT. Prempak-C disagrees with so many women, especially when it comes to bloating.

  12. sharon November 21, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    I went through early menopause eight years ago at the age of 34. Until now I have avoided HRT, but due to osteoperousis have had little choice but to start taking Prempak C.
    Only been on it for 6 weeks but suffering really badly from cramps, headaches, aggressive mood swings and a tightening of the chest.

    Any advice ?

    • Angie Macdonald November 23, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

      Hi Sharon. Sorry to hear about your early menopause and subsequent osteoporosis. I suggest you go back to your doctor as soon as possible and tell him or her that Prempak-C is not agreeing with you. You need to find a form of HRT that makes you feel better, not worse. Prempak-C is a synthetic form of HRT that contains conjugated horse oestrogens – fine for horses but prone to cause horrible symptoms in humans. I’ve written about this in my blog post: http://writehealth.co.uk/premarin-hrt-pregnant-mares-urine/ which includes advice on what to say to your doctor.

      I am a great fan of bioidentical HRT, which is available on the NHS, in the form of oestrogen patches and Utrogestan (progesterone) capsules. It’s a bit more fiddly than just popping one pill a day, but you are less likely to experience nasty side-effects. Good luck.

  13. Rose Morgan August 10, 2014 at 1:17 am #

    I myself, had early menopause. god, I’m 48 years old. i had pre menopause at 45 years old. Doctor prescribed Prempak – C. been on them for a year half now. my weight gain has grown considerable. I have always had a nice figure. My stomach has bloated, I feel huge. I have decided to come off them. My self worth has been destroyed through my weight gain. im not taking no more.

    • Angie Macdonald August 12, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

      Hi Rose. Prempak-C really doesn’t agree with some women and I suspect this is because it is synthetic and made from pregnant mare’s urine and probably best suited for horses rather than humans. If your menopausal symptoms return it might be an idea to ask your doctor to prescribe you another brand of HRT. In my experience, bio-identical HRT in the form of Evorel oestrogen patches and Utrogestan progesterone capsules made the world of difference. I felt so much better and didn’t feel as bloated or look as fat as when I was on the Prempak-C.

    • Carol Westwood January 19, 2015 at 11:06 am #

      Hi ive been taking these for about a year I find them ok I don’t get hot flushes like I did but I’ve dropped From 12/14 to size 8 im 54 with 3 grown up children and grandmother to 9 omg I’m like a teenager and I hate it but reading some of these I don’t think it is the hrt ive been tested for loads of things and all comes back normal it says a lot of people gain on these so I thinking it’s not the tabs cheers

  14. Liz Owen March 28, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    As a PS – I found the Marion Gluck clinic to be very professional, sympathetic and informative. So no problem with that, just would be nice to know of an NHS alternative, or possibly a cheaper private one! Many thanks.

  15. Liz Owen March 28, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

    Hi Angie – I am intrigued by your posts as your experience sounds very familiar. I went through the menopause a bit early (between 40 and 43), luckily having completed my family before that. I didn’t experience particularly bad symptoms at the time, and was actually quite glad to be through it! But I have subsequently been suffering with extreme exhaustion, memory/concentration issues, ageing skin, as well as a few other symptoms associated with being post menopausal, and I feel that it’s just too young to be experiencing this! Didn’t want to go down the traditional HRT route as I have seen/heard too much about side effects, and I have never wanted to put too much ‘manufactured’ hormones in my body – same reason I avoided the contraceptive pill. I also found it extremely difficult to get this through to my doctor, despite several visits, and in the end I gave up & visited the Marion Gluck clinic – received my first scrip for bio-identical HRT in lozenge form today. Its very expensive. So, I am very interested in how you have fared at KCH, as I could not get a referral or any information on NHS treatments other than standard oral HRT (assuming your KCH treatment is NHS?). Update on how you are would be great! Maybe I could use it to push for a referral myself…

    • Angie Macdonald March 28, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

      Hi Liz. I’m sorry to hear about the horrible post menopausal symptoms you’re experiencing. If you’re not getting anywhere with your GP I would suggest you ask him/her to refer to another GP who is more knowledgeable about the menopause and HRT or ask to be referred to a menopause specialist, possibly a Gynae-Endocrine Consultant at a local hospital that has a specialist Menopause Clinic. Bioidentical HRT is certainly available on the NHS – I’ve been prescribed it as have many other women. The difference between being prescribed it on the NHS is that it’s a ‘one size fits all’ approach rather than Marion Gluck’s tailor-made BHRT. The Menopause Clinic at King’s College Hospital has been absolutely wonderful – I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you live in the London area I would suggest you try and go there, or the clinic at Chelsea & Westminster. Bioidentical HRT is available in the form of Evorel patches (oestrogen) and progesterone – Utrogestan capsules and possibly other variations of oestrogen, but Evorel is the one I’m familiar with. Good luck and please let me know how you get on.

  16. Carol Burrows December 4, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

    Hi, I started my MP at 51, I am now 61, so decided to “Wean” myself off my HRT which I had been on for 10 years without any Bad side affects. OMG, after 2 months, I got so stressed with the Hot Flushes and Night sweats, I had to return to my GP and ask to have HRT equal to my previous HRT (” Activelle” taken in another Country which is not available here). She prescribed Prempak C, I’m just coming to the end of my 2nd month, I’m experiencing a slight on going period, never had to buy panty liners in 10 years, have had a bit of Thrush, …But, no hot flushes or night sweats. I do suffer with Asthma which I didn’t know that HRT could affect? mine has been worse….As yet NO great weight gain,I’m always 50 kilos, although when I have to take Sterroids for the Asthma, I gain a huge appetite. the other side affects, tender Boobs, peeing constantly, things I can cope with….just don’t know whether to come off prempak C, I feel that my GP doesnt “Listen”,,,sorry to go on…felling a bit lost…..

    • Angie Macdonald December 5, 2013 at 11:15 am #

      Hi Carol. Thanks for getting in touch and I’m sorry you’re feeling so lost. It sounds like Prempak C is not a perfect fit for you if you are having so many side effects. Everyone responds differently. There are so many types of HRT that it might be worth your while talking to your GP and trying a different brand or preferably, switching to bio-identical patches and pills. It really helps if you have a sympathetic GP or at least a GP who is prepared to refer you to someone who knows more about HRT. Good luck!

  17. Siobhan Doherty November 15, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    I have decided after 2months of taking prempak c to stop taking it. The symptons while reduced havent stopped. The weight gain is awful. And is affecting my asthma. I think ill cope with the insominia ,hot flushes and itchy skin easier than the awful weight gain.

    • Angie Macdonald November 17, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

      Hi Siobhan. Your experience sounds so similar to mine in terms of weight gain. Changing to bio-identical HRT made all the difference to me. I would urge you to talk to your GP about switching to oestrogen patches & Utrogestan tablets (bio-identical progesterone). It could really improve your quality of life and wellbeing. Good luck!

  18. Amanda October 15, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I have had the same experience… I wondered if you have had any luck in finding someone (around London/South East) who is experienced with the bio-identical hormones ? I can’t afford to go private but I haven’t found either Prempak or the Femoston to really sort me out. I had been given the impression that I would feel marvellous and rejuvenated but I’m still a bit emotional, can’t lose weight, poor sleep, some night sweats and have tender breasts….. much better than before but not ideal… Have you heard from any other women who have had any success stories in coping ?

    • Angie Macdonald October 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

      Hi Amanda. Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that you’re still suffering with menopause symptoms and the HRT hasn’t helped much.

      I went back to my GP and told her why I’d stopped taking Prempak-C and asked her for bio-identical hormones again but she wouldn’t prescribe them. She has referred me to the Menopause Clinic at King’s College Hospital in South East London and I’m waiting for my first appointment at the end of October. I’m really hoping that the clinic will be able to help and I’m interested to see what their attitude towards bio-identical hormones is.

      In the meantime, I’ve been talking to lots of women about menopause but so far I haven’t come across any success stories when it comes to HRT.

      I will write about this again as I am keen to chart my journey and to hear from other women in similar positions. I wish you luck on your journey, Amanda. Please keep on checking back here and let me know if you find out any helpful information.

    • Angie Macdonald November 9, 2012 at 9:24 am #

      Hello again, Amanda.

      Just to let you know I had a really positive experience at the Gynae Endocrine clinic at King’s College Hospital in South East London. The Consultant there, Mr Haitham Hamoda, is lovely and prescribed bio-identical hormones without my having to ask for them. I’ve written more about my experience in Part 2 of HRT and Me: http://writehealth.co.uk/hrt-and-me-the-battle-for-testosterone/. It’s too early to say whether or not they work but fingers crossed.

      Good luck. I hope you can be referred to King’s.

      • vera munkhondya February 3, 2015 at 6:22 am #

        Hi Angie,
        my doctor advised me to start taking prepak c at the age of 26. I am just worried about the weight gain that my friends are experiencing and I reach to the point that i dont want to take them anymore, what effects are there if I stop taking them? On the other hand I am worried that if I stop taking them, chances of not having children are very high.
        please help me!

        • Angie Macdonald February 4, 2015 at 11:35 am #

          Hi Vera. Thanks for getting in touch. Normally Prempak-C is prescribed for women who are experiencing menopause or perimenopausal symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and irregular periods. It’s not clear from your comment if you are experiencing early menopause but that is the only reason I can think of why a doctor would prescribe Prempak-C for a young 26 year old woman. You say that your friends are experiencing weight gain – does this imply that your friends are all taking Prempak-C as well? Prempak-C can cause weight gain in some women, this is normally as a result of bloating. The best thing to do in that case is to speak to your doctor and ask to switch HRT and try a new brand or combination. It’s hard for me to say what will happen if you stop taking them as I don’t know if you are menopausal, but if you are, your symptoms like hot flushes and so on will return when you stop taking Prempak-C. If you are taking them as a form of fertility treatment, I would think there really must be other options out there. Utrogestan capsules or pessaries, which is a bioidentical form of progesterone, is used in fertility treatment to help prepare the lining of the uterus and this may be a better option for you. Please speak to your doctor about this.

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