Thyroid UK
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HRT does it help ?

Hi was diagnosed 16 months ago with under active thyroid then hashimotos 2 private doctors and rollercoaster year later still feel rubbish, bloated and swollen fatigued foggy brain and low mood, started on 25 levo uped to 50 then 75 went over active so told to stop completely by 1st doctor, consequently got 2nd opinion back on 50!!! In desperation now going to gynaecologist for HRT as my family doctor unhappy to give as my mother developed breast cancer in her 70's(which she did not need treatment for or die from) not sure HRT the answer but don't know what is and judging by the blogs we all in same boat. . . . . .HELP SINKING

15 Replies

Hi Chrissie,

I really feel for you. I too am of a certain age (just turned 50) and on the physical and emotional roller coaster that women of our age experience. This is of course much exacerbated by the fact that our thyroid issues contribute to the hormonal imbalances that we experience at this time.

Like you I also have Hashimoto's. About a month ago I increased my levo to 100mcg and I am watching and waiting before a follow-up blood test in a couple of weeks. Just for reference, my TSH was really good and low (below 1) and my T4 looked OK - in range but ideally could have been higher. I am very fortunate and the surgery that I go to will also test T3 and it was that which was well below range. Probably if they hadn't tested the T3 I would have been told to stay on the 75mcg as the other readings looked OK. So that is interesting. At the moment I am reading and reading trying to get to grips with why this T3 is low and also what step to take next as I suspect that the levo in and of itself is not enough. I wonder if you have had your T3 tested? What I feel is that if I can get my thyroid sorted ( the root of the problem) other things should start to click into place.

I'm afraid I cannot comment directly about the HRT as I don't have any experience of it. I am trying to deal with the matter via other means - exercise, diet, supplements......and other medication, but it isn't easy. Who knows, maybe HRT would help. I do know a couple of people who say it makes them feel great. Then I also know someone who says that they felt dreadful on it. While it is really important to get as much info as possible I think you also have to try something and see if it works for YOU.

Mary Shoman has written a book called the "The Menopause Thyroid Solution". You may find this helpful.

I know how it is, however. There is so much going on with your health that you almost don't know where to start. Hang in there and be kind to yourself!


Thank you so much for your reply, really usefull will definatly look up book, am due to get results of last weeks blood tests which I am starting to realise I know nothing about and need to ask more questions of and post results to get people's comment.


Hi Chrissie, I've been on transdermal HRT for yonks! Started with progesterone back in 1999, then half dose tri-estrogen plus progesterone 2002, then stopped entirely for 2 years. Was on 125 mcg T4 at the time. I got heart palps eventually. Couldn't sleep on my left side, then they started when I would be walking.

I went back on HRT full strength and within 48 hours the heart palps stopped.

Then GP lowered T4 to 112 mcg but I kept going with HRT: age 52 got menopause (2009): started having heart palps......... this time it was the T4 being too low.

So either being out of sync gives me symptoms.

According to Mary Shomon, properly treated hypo patients don't need HRT....... um, well, I guess I'm weird. Now I'm on 100 T4 and 12.5 T3 and I'm using half dose HRT otherwise I get hot (not the good kind of hot ;) ). No heart palps. If I get hotflashes (and everything goes up and down because that's nature), I increase the HRT since it's a cream and easy to adjust. (The heavily pregnant medical resident at my last endo appointment told me that HRT does not work for hotflashes. ............idiot. I guess she missed the lecture. Yet another budding genius endocrinologist?)

When I was young I arrogantly figured I wouldn't get any of this hotflash/perimenopause/menopause awfulness. I never had any menstrual cramps or excessive bleeding, I was taking T4 and had regular cycles. Oh well. Live and learn.

So at least for me, HRT seems to make the thyroid hormones work better (if I'm getting enough of them, that is). There's some sort of synergy/balancing act between them. Even though the endo was encouraging me to stop using (and then she put me on a hypo dose!! on top of everything else) I'm going to continue.

The two years I stopped, I got jowly. I got fatty under my jaw and in my neck. It was insidious and I only really noticed one day when I was the passenger in the car and looked at myself in the sideview mirror. It was an OMG moment! 2 months back on HRT the fat went away. No thanks. I prefer having a slender neck for a whole bunch of reasons, not just aesthetics.


The type of HRT that you get from the NHS is not good for you (as well as being the result of animal cruelty). It's horse pee aka conjugated estrogen (imagine being kept tied up, pregnant and catheterised) and progestin (fake progesterone, not biochemically the same as human progesterone - implicated n all sorts of chronic diseases). Some NHS practices do give out bioidentical hormones, but not usually with a prescription greared to what you, personally, actually need. Sadly, bioidentical HRT, which is great if you need it, is expensive. You need to know FSH, estrogen, testosterone, DHEA and progesterone in orfer to tell whether HRT (and what dose of which hormones) will help you.

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Angel, bio-identical is what I use. I pay for it myself, no insurance. Compounding pharmacy makes it up. Costs vary extremely. I live in Canada, so a 3 month supply is about $145. But since I'm not using a full dose anymore, this much lasts me about 7 months now. In the USA the cost is at least double. Don't know what it would be like in the UK.


Thanks so much for reply, this is all mine field just getting to grips with what people have been coping with for years, looks like a long road ahead!!!


It's more expensive than that in the UK - about 40 GPB a month. But dosage is individualised. I suppose you could take half of your individual prescription.


Angel, that's not too bad. Still cheaper than in the US. But you see there's this paradigm shift between how people in the UK look at these things and how people like me, who have a situation where drugs are not a 'covered' benefit, I realize that people in UK pay their taxes (so do we) and taxes are used to fund NHS which includes prescription drugs. We don't. For brief periods of time I've had insurance but for most of my life did not and had to pay for my two children's prescription drug needs out of pocket as well. Fortunately they are now in employment situations where they have insurance which pays a large percentage of their medications.

Basically when I have two choices: pay or feel sick, I pay. When it comes to the Cytomel and the Synthroid it is even more stark: Pay or die. And with three other medications: pay or not be able to work. It's pretty stark. HRT is prescription drug number six. It's not a frill: I prefer to not work with sweat dripping into my eyes. There is no tax deduction for any of this up to 4% of gross annual income. Now, with that I take issue because people with insurance don't pay tax on their premiums.


Of course, that's only the cost of the meds. The doctor's fee would be about 200GBP per visit. Plus you have to pay into the NHS even if you never use it - the choice is much the same here. Go to the NHS, for which you have already paid, and get loads of tests and probably no meds or diagnosis (and pay a small amount for the meds if you get them). Or pay extra and go private and pay for everything.

We have to pay (extra) tax on all insurance premiums - even the ones that are compulsory like car insurance.


Yes we have those 'functional medicine' doctors too. And then there's the naturopaths/herbalists where you pay $700 to step through the door and then $1000s more...... I get my prescription for the HRT from my GP but I gave her the information as to what to put on the prescription. Then over the years, but not for the past while, she'd say to me "YOU are asking for this." Yup, I am. The conclusion of the nurses study was not relevent to me.

I was not a 60+ post menopausal woman who had gone through menopause with out problems and then was suddenly given estrogen to find out if it protects from heart disease..............

Turns out I was probably right to start on HRT during perimenopause and slowly titrate the dose up and now titrating the dose down. With the bio-identicals transdermal I've never experienced an adverse side effect. Just major unpleasantness for the two year period of time I stopped it thinking I didn't need it.

My attitude to all this is, I have to work. I can't stay home and fan myself through a decade of hot flashes. Wish I could but it's not on the agenda. I need my sleep (it's dangerous to drive a car when severely sleep deprived) and I need to be able to competently do my job. I can''t afford to be distracted by hot flashes, sweat pouring down my face etc. It's just totally unprofessional.


This is a link of a blog:



Thyroid disorders may cause similar symptoms to the menopause. HRT and phytoestrogen supplements don’t seem to affect normal thyroid function, but may reduce the absorption of thyroxine medication in those with hypothyroidism.


I have Hypothryroidism and have spoken with you before Shaws. This is me, on hrt patches estrogen/progesterone and Endo just reduced T4 fro 100 down to 50mcgs and upped T3 from 20mcgs to 30mcgs. I have felt a difference since on patches. I will get back to you as I have just had a blood test requested by Endo to see how I am getting on with changes. Is it ok if I post them to you when I get the results, it is just that I am hearing so much about HRT effecting the efficacy of medications?

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All man made synthetic drugs are bad for you.

There is so much helpful open information on natural alternatives nowadays. Bad Diet is a massive contributor to all sorts of health problems today.. Cancers feed from refined sugars; flour, raw sugar and believe it or not you can overload your body with fruit sugars. Your body should be mostly Alkaline but today's fast food industry is Acidic.

The body over time or depending how much deodorants, chemicals, sunscreens, soaps, hair dyes and cosmetics you blather on your body will undoubtedly result in the body "storing" the harmful chemicals as toxins.

Stay away from aspartame. Fructose corn syrup, metabisulphites found in cordial drinks and seafood. Just to name a few. HRT thyroid and fibromyalgia have many overlapping symptoms.

Menopause is hormone imbalance = low estorgen even lower progesterone. Night sweats chills, fatigue, depression, aches, cold/heat intolerance. Headaches and anxiety.

Thyroid relies on hormones to regulate Body metabolism, heat and general well being. Control aches or pains and regulate cortisol, stress hormone.

Fibromyalgia is stress related from mental(family), surgery or injury related. Body aches, pressure points ( which are knots of tension, stress) overall sickness almost like hangover without the alcohol. Brain fog, sweats and chills, electric shocks, crawling skin, bad intestines or bowel movements.

HRT is not proven to prevent cancers of any type..

You really are what you eat.

Hope this helps xx


I think it was referring only to levothyroxine and not T3. T3, being absorbed quickly and not needing to be converted (I am not medically qualified) may do the trick for you. It's good endo increased and hope you feel really well soon.


I have posted my experience with HRT elsewhere today and suggested caution and finding out all you can first. I tend to agree that getting your thyroid meds optimal is more important.


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