I have followed Jenni Murray’s menopause and HRT journey over the years ever since I heard her introduce a discussion on natural progesterone in 1997 on Woman’s Hour about a year after I discovered it. It was so interesting to hear such eminent experts giving their opinions about natural progesterone especially Dr John Lee. Please listen below – discussion approx 15 mins:

Later in 2001 it was even more interesting to hear Jenni Murray present a debate between Dr John Lee and a British doctor (gynaecologist). This debate clearly demonstrates why it has been so difficult for the benefits of natural progesterone to be fully accepted even when solid evidence is provided. The answer to many of those who ask the question ”Why can’t the medical profession accept that natural progesterone is a safe alternative to conventional HRT?” is: the evidence is being over ridden and ignored by reasons only Dr John Lee could describe so eloquently in the debate. Please listen below – discussion approx 15 mins:

Also in 2001, Jenni Murray’s book ‘Is it me, or is it hot in here’ was published and, having heard all the evidence for natural progesterone, decided to take part in a small trial to determine its efficacy. I do not know why Jenni then changed to conventional HRT, but 5 years later she was then diagnosed with an oestrogen driven breast cancer and had to go through the trauma of a mastectomy and all the experiences that usually follow this.

This was so sad for Jenni because she, of all women, knew almost every aspect of HRT and its alternatives as is evident in her very informative book. Even I was mentioned in it indirectly (women-led self-help groups page 112) which was quite impressive. It was a huge dilemma for her to choose which method of treatment she would take to alleviate her debilitating menopausal symptoms. With all the information presented to her she finally chose the conventional HRT route believing that the risks were worth it as they were considered so small.

If a woman such as Jenni Murray was so confused and misled by all the information available, and being constantly in a position to listen to intelligent debates by the most prominent experts in the world on the subject, how on earth were ordinary women going to manage to decipher the risks or non-risks with HRT?

I applaud her work throughout the years in bringing all aspects of the HRT debate to women via her programme on Woman’s Hour. Even more, I applaud her strength of character to now hold up her hands and say she made the wrong decision which may have a massive impact for women who are still undecided and who may be swayed by HRT trials that do not present all the facts, especially when reported in the media such as the latest Danish study. See her recent article here.

In 2008, Jenni presented another debate about the safety of HRT between Professor Valerie Beral and a gynaecologist who specialises in the menopause. It was interesting that the subject matter strongly correlates with the latest Danish study in that major differences were not apparent in the main media reports. These are for the same reasons I gave in the previous article in my news section: Now HRT is safe again according to recent reports, or is it?

Valerie Beral is an eminent professor of epidemiology and she strongly agues the fact that HRT is unsafe as shown in her research – she says: “HRT cannot be considered safe and that is what the evidence is”. The doctor puts arguments back to her which includes him saying “I don’t think it helps to get into arguing figures, its philosophy that we want”. Please listen below – discussion approx 15 mins

Sadly, Linda Edwards who took part in the first debate about natural progesterone and was the founder of The National Osteoporosis Society, died of breast cancer in 2002.