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Prepping for the HRT Conversation

Dec 11, 2023

Preparing for a conversation about Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) with your GP is an important step in ensuring that you receive the information and support you need. Here are some steps to help you prepare for this conversation:

  1. Educate Yourself:

Research HRT: Before your appointment, take the time to educate yourself & understand the different types of HRT, their potential benefits, risks, and side effects.

Read medical guidelines: Familiarise yourself with the relevant medical guidelines for HRT. They're pretty lengthy, but you can find a link to the NICE (National Institute for Health & Care Excellence) guidelines for menopause diagnosis & management here. You could also take a look at the patient resources of the British Menopause Society (Women's Health Concern.)

  1. Write Down Questions:

Make a list of questions and concerns you have about HRT. This will help you stay organised during the conversation and ensure you don't forget important points.

  1. Book the correct appointment

Let the receptionist know that you want to talk about the menopause. This information may influence which practitioner you see & how long an appointment you’re given.

  1. Medical History:

Be prepared to discuss your medical history, including any pre-existing medical conditions, surgeries, medications you're currently taking, and family medical history. This information can help your GP assess the appropriateness of HRT for you.

  1. Goals and Expectations:

Be clear about your goals and expectations regarding HRT. Are you seeking relief from menopausal symptoms, gender transition, or another specific reason? Knowing your goals can guide the conversation.

  1. Risks and Benefits:

Ask your GP to explain the potential risks and benefits of HRT in your specific case. This should include a discussion of the short-term and long-term effects.

  1. Alternatives:

Inquire about alternative treatments or therapies that may be suitable for your situation. Your GP can help you explore options, both medical & otherwise, beyond HRT.

  1. Discuss Your Preferences:

Further to point 1, share your preferences regarding the type of HRT (e.g., oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone), route of administration (e.g. pills, gels, patches), and any concerns you may have about the treatment plan.

  1. Consent and Informed Decision-Making:

Make sure you fully understand the treatment plan and any potential risks. It’s not uncommon for women to leave with their prescription & not wholly understand how they’re meant to take HRT. To that end…….

  1. Take Notes:

During the conversation, take notes to record key points and recommendations from your GP. This will help you remember important details later.

  1. Don’t despair:

If you don’t leave with your desired prescription, it may be that your GP wants to run some tests first to check for any deficiencies & ensure that symptoms don’t have an alternative cause. Do make sure, though, that you know how any testing is to be followed up & when you should revisit.

  1. Follow-Up:

Discuss the schedule for follow-up appointments and any signs or symptoms you should watch out for and report. Hormone level monitoring is unlikely to be offered but may be appropriate if you don’t seem to be getting relief from symptoms.

Remember that your GP is there to provide guidance and support, so don't hesitate to ask questions and seek clarification on any concerns you may have. Most GPs will appreciate a well-informed patient who is clear on what HRT they would like & why they’re asking for it. 

If you’re looking for complementary ways of managing your menopause, either alongside or instead of HRT, I run MenoMelt on a rolling basis. Whether you’re wanting to shift some weight, or are low in energy, or not sleeping well, or want relief from low mood, anxiety, tummy grumbles, joint aches & pains, MenoMelt can help. Please take a look at when the course is next being run or drop me a line.

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