The Cost of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy: Is it Worth It?
Bioidentical or body identical hormones available on the NHS and are usually prescribed to symptomatic menopausal women without any testing. Because these products come in standardised doses and there may be supply issues, the ability to adjust the dose if needed is limited. Some women may not find a product that suits them, or may find a product that suits them for a while then stops working for them, or is discontinued. Some women may feel that they need more support with their condition, whether this be primary ovarian failure or perimenopause. Many women suffer with hormonal imbalances other than menopause which the NHS simply does not cater for.
Hence many women turn to private bioidentical hormone therapy clinics because they want a much more personalised treatment plan. Our hormone requirements are influenced by a whole host of factors, including what’s going on in our lives, our diet and our stress levels. Things change over time which is why prescriptions can change over time too. A more personalised treatment plan involves
- hormone testing before commencing any treatment to understand what is really going on in their bodies
- treatments individualised for them: this means just giving the hormones that they need in the doses that they need in the routes that suit them. Going down this route allows greater flexibility in terms of the hormones considered (testosterone and DHEA are not usually tested for or prescribed on the NHS) and allows a range of doses and routes of hormones that meet their needs.
- regular follow up: typically they will be seen 6-8 weeks after they start treatment, and thereafter every 2-6 months on an ongoing basis
- repeat testing: repeat tests on hormones allows them to see the difference before and after treatment and keep making adjustments as things change.
The costs of going to a private bioidentical hormone therapy clinic are as follows:
Appointments: there will be the cost of the initial appointment, a follow up 6-8 weeks later and thereafter follow ups every 2-6 months. With our clinic the cost of an initial appointment is £300 and follow ups £105-140. Once stable on treatment you may only need to be seen before once a year.
Tests: A hormone profile is done at the outset. The cost of a hormone profile test is around £250-300. This may be repeated after 6 months of treatment. Moving forward, annual hormone tests are common. There may be other tests to be done such as smear tests, mammograms or pelvic ultrasounds which can be arranged on the NHS or privately.
Prescriptions: Many women may be taking a few different hormone products because they are on combinations of hormones in creams, capsules or lozenges. An average patient taking a cream and some capsules may spend £50 per month on the treatment.
Ultimately, whether or not the cost of bio-identical hormone therapy is worth it depends on what is right for you. For some women, taking a standardised product for straightforward menopause is enough. Customised bioidentical hormone therapy works best for those who are also keen to look at their own lifestyle and do the work to feel their best selves. Many women become passionate advocates of customised bioidentical hormone therapy, claiming its the best money they’ve ever spent!