oestrogen gel and utrogestan elizabeth carr-ellis

Oestrogen gel and utrogestan: Have I found my HRT heaven at last?

Indiana Jones come and get me because I think I’ve found my holy grail and its name is oestrogen gel and utrogestan and utrogestan. (Okay, that’s two names, but you get my drift…)

It’s been almost three years since I was first put on HRT. Three long years of traipsing back and forth to the doctor – you can read my HRT journey here – and almost two years of arguing to get separate hormones.

But finally – FINALLY! – I got it. So what do I think? Let’s get the science out of the way first.

Oestrogen gel and utrogestan: what is it?

Basically, oestrogen gel and utrogestan is hormone replacement therapy in two separate bits: a gel that gives you oestrogen and tablets that give you progesterone (click on the links for my easy-to-understand guides to these hormones).

Before this, I was on Femostan, which comes in a tablet, and then I’ve had years of various patches.

What’s wrong with other HRT?

Absolutely nothing, if you can tolerate it. The trouble is, I can’t.

First of all, Femostan did absolutely nothing for me. Nowt. Zilch. Nada. I was still a psychological and physical mess at the end of several months taking it, scratching away at itchy skin and a ball of anxiety. The only thing it did help was my hot flushes.

This was followed by HRT patches and I quickly saw a cycle of mood swings whenever I switched to the progesterone part. This got me into a cycle of GPs prescribing different HRT patches, which all had the same result, until I was told that I suffer from progesterone sensitivity.

Even before that, though, I was advised to have oestrogel and a Mirena coil fitted for the progesterone or oestrogel and utrogestan – the gold standard of HRT. Pity my GP surgery hasn’t been told that…

What are the benefits of oestrogen gel and utrogestan?

Taking oestrogen transdermally (that is: through the skin, in a gel or a patch) is the safest form of HRT, while a micronised progesterone (body-identical, which means it is physically identical to the hormones our body makes) is the most tolerable form to take.

The beauty of a gel is that you can easily adjust the dosage up or down. That’s impossible with a patch, unless you stick on loads.

(You can’t reduce a patch by cutting it in half, by the way; the chemicals are not spread evenly over it so you aren’t getting a true 50 per cent reduction. Plus they fall off easier if you cut them. Yeah, I did it first without researching properly. Divvy!)

Regardless of my situation, however, I know women who are happy with their HRT tablets and their patches. There is no such thing as a typical menopause and the answer to your treatment is as unique as you are. What works (or doesn’t) for me works (or doesn’t) for me alone. There is no one-size-fits-all with HRT.

So tell me – is oestrogen gel and utrogestan working for you?

Yes. And no. But mostly… yes!

I started on oestrogen gel and utrogestan three months ago. I still can’t believe it. Last time I wrote about my HRT, I was unsure what to do.

HRT has never given me that boost of life I had heard about and I was beginning to think I was just a hypochondriac – something many menopausal women have told me they often feel.

oestrogen gel and utrogestan

And to make things worse, the coil doctor phoned up to tell my my surgery was no longer fitting coils because of Covid, which is ridiculous.

I have experience with this GP, so I kept calm and said: “That’s okay, I’d like to go on an oestrogen gel and utrogestan then, please.”

“No,” she replied. “That’s not possible. You see, you need progesterone, which is what the coil is for. You can’t not have HRT without progesterone.”

“Yes,” I said. “That’s why I’d like utrogestan.”

Sigh. “But you can’t. You need progesterone. We aren’t fitting coils, so you’ll have to have a patch.”

She was so insistent that I started doubting myself. Is utrogestan a progesterone? After all, she was the doctor – and our centre’s women’s health expert. Perhaps I’d got it all wrong…

So I agreed to being prescribed Evorel Sequi, which I’m 99% certain I’ve had before.

As soon as the phone was down, I googled utrogestan and coils and re-read everything I’d read before. Of course utrogestan is a bloody progesterone!

I called up the surgery the very next day and got an appointment with a GP I respect. After calmly explaining why I would not be taking Evorel Sequi – or ever consulting the coil doctor again – I asked again for oestrogen gel and utrogestan.

“I have never prescribed that before,” she said. “Bear with me, because I’m going to have to do a lot of checking to make sure I get the quantities right for you.”

Lots of: “Okay, so you need…” and: “And this much gel – I’m not sure how many doses these hold, so I’ll prescribe one for now and if you need more, just call,” later, I had my script.

After two years of fighting for it.

Three months on…

Disclaimer first: I’m still on sertraline, an anti-depressant that I started taking because I was so scared of the suicidal thoughts I’d had when the progesterone got me last year. (And that’s the first time I’ve ever put it so bluntly.)

Apart from that, I feel normal. Even not bad at times, actually. I am looking after myself again, with a new haircut and some new clothes, and eating better.

I’m not out of the woods yet, thought. For a couple of days per month, usually around the end of the utrogestan period or sometimes afterwards, I get hit by the black dog again and feel useless and just rubbish, really. But I’ve only had one cry in three months. That’s amazing.

I’m also due to speak to a specialist in a few weeks, so I’m hoping to bump up my oestrogen gel. At the moment, I’m on one pump twice a day, giving me 1.5mg of of hormone.

In general, most days, I feel stronger and happier. It’s taken two years, but finally I think I’ve found my HRT heaven with oestrogen gel and utrogestan.

What HRT are you on and how is it affecting you? Leave me a comment below – they help so many others. And don’t forget to subscribe to get your free 20-page guide to menopause and midlife, with all the information you need.

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30 thoughts on “Oestrogen gel and utrogestan: Have I found my HRT heaven at last?”

  1. Same combination as you, it works great for me. My GP suggested this after patches gave me a terrible skin rash. Maybe I have been very lucky with my Gp they have been very clued up and sympathetic.

    1. That’s brilliant to hear. I have a great GP, but getting to see him is a nightmare so I end up doing the rounds of who is available. I love hearing positive doctor stories! x

  2. I use Evorel 75 patch twice a week, and utrogestan for 12 days, which was a change from Evorel Sequi. Took a while to settle but so far so good!

  3. Michelle Burlinson

    OMG, your story is so closely match to mine! I’ve been on antidepressants on and off for years. I think I hit the mother load of meno symptoms last July, very deep depression, anxiety so bad I could’ve quite happily been sectioned. I thought I was loosing by my mind it got so bad I took to my bed for 3 hellish weeks and contemplated suicide it was that bad. My Doctor put me on fluoxetine a good while back and I stopped it for a while and he said I needed to go back on it, which I did. I then joined a meno group and bam, it all made so much sense, all my symptoms pointed to menopause not depression. I’ve been menopausal since I was 43 now 54! I feel shame that I did not pick up on the cues or explore options. I just I carried on suffering and not really doing anything about it, par for the course for many women! Anyway, I demanded to go on HRT. I started Everol patches last September, my hot flushes subsided, aches and pains subsided, hair stopped falling out and my skin didn’t feel so dry but sleep was still allusive and doing the job I do (nurse) , I cannot afford to go without it! I started on the Esterogel and progesterone pill plus vaginal Oestrogen tablets (urethra atrophy). It’s been ok, hot flushes are still with me but not so aggressive, sleep is much better but my hair is still falling out, I’m exhausted all the time and I’m still having little MH wobbles when isn’t great! I’ve upped my gel pumps to 6, so far so good but my GP who’s had extra training in menopause is off sick ATM and I’m reluctant to see anyone else as they just want to increase my antidepressants, which isn’t the answer! I’ve just signed up for a consultation with Dr Louise Newson, Menopause Specialist, who I’ve heard is amazing. £250 which is a lot of money but worth it to me to get the right support and advice. I realise I’m lucky and can afford it, many women in my position can’t and that’s totally unacceptable given half the population are women and a good % will be going through menopause. Things have got to change in women’s health and unless we all shout about it, nothing will change. I don’t want my daughter to go through what I did in fact I will walk with her every step of the way when the time comes!

    1. Why do so many of us feel shame that we didn’t realise menopause symptoms (I did)? If we haven’t been told them, then how were we to know? Louise knows her business and a half, so you’re in good hands. But as you say, it’s not acceptable that you’re having to pay for what should be available through the NHS. Let me know how it goes, please.

      One thing – I would recommend trying organic sulfur (MSM) for your hair, too. I have hair loss and it has really helped. Makes my nails grow lovely too! x

    2. Hi, just came across the site & can’t believe what I’m reading!!! I was put on anti depressants two years ago, very depressed, suicidal but I was going to work every day, swimming every morning but was told I was depressed. Only by watching Davina McCall I started on HRT gel. Two pumps a day, it’s only been three weeks, and just wondering when will it “kick in”.

      1. Hi Jen and thanks for the comment. Hope you can’t believe what you’re reading in a good way!!!! This is such good timing, I was walking and thinking about HRT (I do that!) and what my experiences have taught me. It can take up to 3 months for HRT to feel the full effects, but you should start noticing a change after a few weeks. If you still feel nothing after 3 months, talk to your GP about upping the number of pumps you can have. You may need more. Good luck and let me know how you get on x

  4. I’m about 2 yrs menopausal, I’m 47 but for the last 8 yrs I really thought I was losing my mind. My symptoms started at 38, Back & forwards to the Gp, was prescript Antidepressant as my mood was like a seesaw & constant UTI’s, had bladder repair 8 yrs, got sterilised then too, & had a TVT done ( bladder sling )but all a long it was perimenopause.
    I’ve only started HRT about 20 mths ago , at first I felt better but it didn’t last , went back to Endocrinologist I have thyroid disease . And she put me on divigel 2 sachets daily .
    I also had to take provera , but my first experience of that was horrendous , I felt suicidal , so my dose of provera was lowered & I was told to take it every couple of mths. Which I know isn’t correct as my womp is intact . So my next experimence of provera but me in hospital , I had flooding ( bleeding that I couldn’t
    control )was give medication to stop the bleeding . So I had to do a lot of research & thanks to Dr Louise Newson on her instragram I really don’t know where I’d ended up.
    So armed with new information I asked for uthrogeston vaginal suppositories , not issues with progesterone now .
    Was still feeling not myself , chronic fatigue , insomnia , aches and pains in my muscles & hands & feet .. had blood taken & my estrogen levels were still very low even though I am on HRT, so I’m on 100 mg patches estradot . To be honest I really thought I’d be doing cartwheels with this new regime .
    My husband is so supportive , he said he’s sees glimmers of the old me shining through .
    I do think I sound like a hypochondriac and I get embarrassed . But I just want feel normal again.

    1. Oh Aine, I’m so sorry to hear what you’ve been through and thank goodness you managed to find help and advice from Dr Newson. It really shouldn’t be up to women to do so much research. New HRT regimes take a while to get established in the body, that’s why I waited 3 months before posting about my experience. Your husband sounds wonderful and if he’s seeing patches of the “old you”, then it sounds as if the new regime is starting to work. Please try and stay positive. You are NOT a hypochondriac. You have a condition that needs help and it is the system that is letting you down. Please keep in touch and let me know how you get on xxx

  5. I’ve been on HRT for seven years – am now 56. Problem is I still bleed – I switched from Everol 50 & 3
    Everol combi to Everol 50 & utrogestan 2 years ago but continued with period like symptoms. After loads of tests my womb is fine but still struggling with bleeds. Latest attempt is Everol combi only & I’ve bled from day 1! Do I give it a month or try the gel /Utrogen approach? I can’t go off HRT as symptoms too bad without it but having periods at 57 is not a nice prospect!

    1. Oh I hear ya – the bleeding is a pain and I can’t wait for it to be over. Bleeding and spotting can happen in the first few months (some women have told me up to six months) and then usually dies down. I’d give it about three months and keep tracking the bleeding with how heavy and frequency. If it doesn’t ease, go back to your GP and discuss it, with perhaps the possibility of having a coil fitted. Please let me know how you’re doing too x

  6. Thank you for sharing your story, I found you in a random Google search trying to learn more about my new HRT combo of oestrogen gel and utrogestan tablets and feel like I’ve found a glimmer of hope. I have a new GP who is wonderful and as soon as she reviewed my meds said she wanted to change me to this “ gold standard” HRT. I’m in the first cycle of it and not sure what it will do for me yet as I’m managing a bunch of things. That said, reading the comments here I wonder if these challenges have more connections to menopause than I’ve realised. I had bladder surgery 2 years ago after huge decline over short period. I’d had issues post-childbirth but now I realise the decline is in line with the lead up to my beginning HRT. Since the surgery, my HRT prescription has been all over the place thanks to supply issues post-Brexit & my mental health has steadily declined. I’m seeing a psychiatrist & psychologist now with shared care plan through my new GP. Psychiatrist issues the meds, psychologist leads the therapy and GP in background. I do have a history of childhood & early adult trauma with a diagnosis of complex PTSD now. I have struggled to understand why after all these years of coping very well it has all exploded and taken over my life in the last few years. I’ve had terrifying suicidal thoughts more frequently (hence psychologist now) and wonder on a daily basis if I’ll ever feel like myself again. It’s frightening, debilitating, intimidating and shaming to feel this way. Your post & comments have helped me to see how interconnected the menopause is and why my mental health issues feel so intense. The PTSD is undisputed but the impact of menopause is something that needs to be part of the overall conversation. Thank you for your help x

    1. Your GP sounds wonderful and I have such admiration for you for tackling so much. We overlook the effect hormones have on us as we get older, but they’re still as strong and powerful as when we were in puberty. We would never treat teenagers the way we treat ourselves. I have a similar background of childhood trauma and know how it can suddenly explode on you in ways you would never have thought, and at times you would never have thought. I wish you all the luck and help in the world. Please keep in touch and let me know how you’re doing xxx

  7. I’ve only recently realised that I have been perimenopausal….and I actually think I’ve been like this for ten years. Such a lack of joy, mood swings, anxiety, brain fog……I rang my.GP who told me to go check out the website menopause matters and aldi suggested antidepressants…….A lot of research later, I asked to speak to someone at the surgery who is an experrt in hrt. The expert is not a GP….its the pharmacist….I asked for oestrogen gel and utrogestan….and testosterone (which was declined). AFter some blood tests, I have my prescription and start next period. I hope I feel better….

    1. Hi Emma. My Gp also said to check with the pharmacist about how to take my HRT!!!! In a way, I can understand – they are trained in drugs. Hope you’re feeling better now???? xxx

  8. Hello ladies. V interesting to read all your stories. After 15 months wait re covid to see my gp face to face, I did today and she gave me 45 mins of her time and so much understanding. I’m on vagifem suppository twice a week, evorel 50 patch and vaginal utrogestan 100mg x 2 for two weeks in every four. I’m awaiting a follow up for testosterone and an e-string vaginal ring but the latter could be six months down the line as I can thus far only tolerate a cotton bud internally as my urethra and vagina have atrophied severely. I’m 47, been experiencing symptoms since I was 43, and relied on fluoxetine as my symptoms weren’t identified as perimenopause until just a few weeks. Two [email protected] admissions for uti that led to my bladder bleeding within a couple of hours of symptoms. No sex in nearly a year and tiredness that got so bad I feared I had cancer. Feeling hopeful that a corner has been turned today.

    1. Oh Pru! That sounds horrendous – but yay! for your GP. Giving you so much time is wonderful and what you needed. It can take a few weeks for everything to settle down with HRT (and it can feel worse at first) so keep an eye on it, track your symptoms and hopefully you’ll see an upturn soon. Please keep in touch x

      1. hi I am on femoston and it doing exactly what it did to you, feeling super low! i had a coil fitted and had it removed due to pain!
        also been on trisequins, the doc has prescribed antidepressents but im scared ti take them,with reference to the utrogestan are these pills?
        i would like to approach my doctor, there not the best so want to go armed with info lol!!

  9. Absolutely shocking the lack of menopausal training for GPs. Also I find it outrageous that surgeries are not fitting coils at the moment and can see no reason for that.
    Like most women I didn’t realise menopause has so many symptoms. I have been lucky and had very few but stumbled on an interview with Dr Menopause and now follow her on instagram- such an education.
    Ladies please do ask to have you B12 and Vitamin D checked, my tests came back low and I am now having injections to boost them. Lack of these vitamins also cause aches and pains along with brain fog so can be contributing to menopausal symptoms.
    I live in Dubai and was lucky to be able to go directly to a specialist who ran the full tests including vitamin ones. I am now on oestrogen gel. Just started aged 54 and no progesterone as had a hysterectomy, excited to see things improve and in a month I go back to her and if needed she will prescribe testosterone, which seems hard to get in UK. From what I heard it officially only permitted for men so Doctors have to step out of the guidelines to give to women but it can done – so keep asking for it of you feel its right for you.
    Keep pushing your GPs or change to a better informed one who understand that women should not have to suffer. Things must change. It’s unacceptable for women to be untreated (unless it’s their choice) and very alarming how quickly doctors dish out anti depressants.
    Wishing us all the best on this next chapter of life and let’s make sure we enjoy it. Xxx

    1. Brilliant comment, Josephine! Thank you. And that is such a good message about B12. Low levels can cause many symptoms that could be mistaken for menopause, as well as even causing hallucinations! We need to remember that not everything we go through at this age is menopause and make sure we’re as healthy as possible.

  10. Julie aged 59
    Hi, found comments all useful.
    I was on sertraline for 2yrs, assumed I was depressed due to bereavements & “time of life stuff”, weened myself off sertraline per gp surgeries pharmacist recommendations, but didn’t solve anxiety, lack of confidence felt during last 10yrs!
    Finally taking HRT gel & progesterone tablet (only 3wks in now) after watching documentary with Davina McColl. So still waiting to feel full effects. Though had few strange side effects which hoping others can concur.
    Swollen labia initially & itching (no I have been applying on my shoulders 😅)…
    Will keep viewing updates

    1. Hi Julie and thanks for reading. I’d give your doctor a wee call just to make sure it’s not a yeast infection or the likes. It’s always best to be sure. Let me know how you do xxx

  11. I’ve just had the most wonderful phone call with a lady doctor who listened and straight away said you could try HRT.
    Would you like the gel or patches? And you need to take a tablet at night until we can get your coil changed .
    Had my blood pressure & weight checked and within an hour my prescription is waiting at my local chemist .
    Let’s start this journey….

  12. I’m so thankful I have come across this! I have just bee prescribed utrogesta and oestrogel. I have to take Utrogestan during days 15-26 of my cycle but I don’t know what that is because I have the mirena coil. My Doctor is great st prescribing but not so great at advising!
    Does anybody know when I should start taking th tablets?

    1. Hi Michelle. Glad to have been of some help. Have you been given Utrogestan at the same time as you have a coil or is the coil being removed? I had a similar problem because I was bleeding so irregularly through my previous HRT that I had no idea when my cycle was (or if I was still having a 28-day cycle!). In the end, I just decided to start the gel and then start the progesterone 15 days after that! It might be worth while having a quick chat to your pharmacist, too. They often know more about the actual HRT than the doctor! x

  13. Hi, I have been prescribed Utrogestan to take days 1-12 and the gel. There are 28 of these. (The gel) Do I put them on for the 12 days I am taking the tablets or every day for the 28 days, as there is no directive on the box?
    Does anyone know please……..

    1. Hi Hayley. It’s so infuriating that they don’t advise people properly. Yes, you take the gel all the way through and the Utrogestan on the days they say. x

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