An unbiased review of hellorory.com, an online supplier of products for women that treat common symptoms of menopause.
It’s extraordinary that, in this age of feminism, hormonal changes affecting women from menstruation through menopause are still so hush hush, only whispered about among women and their physicians. As open as we feel, women are still embarrassed to admit they experience hot flashes, night sweats or vaginal dryness.
Rory is a new site trying to end the silent suffering. It strives to promote an open dialogue where nothing related to women’s health is taboo. In addition to being a source for personalized support and medical knowledge on everything related to women’s health, Rory offers a line of products for middle-aged women to ease the discomforts of menopause. Before we overview those products, let’s first discuss how ordering menopause meds online from Rory works.
How Rory works for women in menopause
- The first step is an online physician visit. This is a virtual consultation to uncover your medical history, symptoms, and lifestyle — just like you’re used to in a physical doctor’s office.
- Your online “doctor” reviews your questionnaire and if the prescription treatment is appropriate for you, they contact you via phone, message or video chat to make their pitch.
- Any purchases you make will be delivered to your home in discreet packaging to protect your privacy. Rory encourages you to reach out to the online doctor or their care team with any follow up questions or concerns.
What menopause treatments does Rory sell?
The side effects of menopause are often unpleasant. The drop in estrogen and progesterone — two hormones necessary for female fertility — typically cause a range of symptoms. While Rory can’t solve them all, it promotes several over the counter antidotes, as well as prescription formulas, for four of the most common symptoms of menopause: Hot Flashes, vaginal dryness, insomnia, and eyelash thinning.
Treatment for Hot Flashes
Ever experienced a hot flash? Out of nowhere, your face and chest feel intensely warm, your skin gets red, and you’re sweating profusely. Chills come next. At night you wake up drenched and shivering. Hot flashes occur when changing hormone levels throw off the part of the brain that controls body temperature.
Rory’s online physicians can write you a prescription for a combination of two non-hormonal drugs to reduce the severity and frequency hot flashes:
Paroxetine HCL (10mg)– reduces the severity of hot flashes
Venlafaxine HCL (75mg)– reduces the frequency
Do these meds provide real relief? Here’s the latest research:
The National Institutes of Health published a study in the International Journal of Women’s Health in 2015 that defined Paroxetine as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and Venlafaxine as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), both antidepressants initially used to treat depression, OCD, panic attacks, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). Recently, Paroxetine (more commonly known by the brand name Brisdelle) has been cleared by the FDA as a safe and effective therapy for the treatment of vasomotor symptoms during menopause at minimum doses (7.5 mg – 12 mg).
FYI, Mayo Clinic says Brisdelle is the ONLY antidepressant approved by the FDA for hot flashes. Others such as Venlafaxine (Effexor XR), Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva), Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, others) have not been cleared for this treatment.
One quick caveat on potential side effects: Other sources warn that for women who were not already depressed, taking SSRI’s or SNRI’s for hot flash relief might cause more suicidal thoughts and behaviors than those given a placebo. Other common side effects include headaches, nausea, anxiety, dry mouth, fatigue, insomnia, drowsiness, and dizziness, but are often temporary. SSRI’s interact with several common drugs including the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen, so be wary of how Paroxetine might interact with your other medications.
Rory also offers an over the counter remedy for hot flashes:
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties that supports nerve and muscle function and helps boost the immune system. Research shows that vitamin E reduced up to 10 percent reduction of hot flashes frequency in women who mild experienced menopausal symptoms. Frankly, this is not a strong therapy. Adjust your expectations accordingly.
Black Cohosh is a member of the buttercup family. Native Americans and Eastern herbalists have used this plant for a variety of illnesses and as a bug deterrent. Currently Black Cohosh is a dietary supplement used for hot flashes, menstrual cramps and to induce labor. Studies on the efficacy of Black Cohosh on menopause symptoms in people were not of the highest quality and have had inconsistent results. Overall, evidence for Black Cohosh is insufficient as a remedy for hot flashes, so again, don’t expect miracles.
Treatment For Vaginal Dryness
As estrogen levels decrease during menopause, vaginal tissue produces less natural lubricant to the delicate lining of the vagina. This can cause discomfort during sex, which can lead to reduced libido and may negatively affect women’s sex lives. “An active vagina is a happy vagina and a happier you”.
Rory offers prescriptions for improvement of vaginal lubrication:
Vaginal Estradiol Cream (0.01%)
Estradiol cream is a hormonal preparation of estrogen. When applied topically to the vaginal area, Estradiol remedies dryness, among other symptoms of menopause. It should not be used by women who are avoiding hormone treatment of menopause. The list of possible side effects is long including nausea, vomiting, bloating, stomach pain, breast tenderness, headache, weight changes and ironically, vaginal itching or discharge.
Rory also offers an over-the-counter option for vaginal dryness:
This product attempts to replicate the body’s natural lubrication. It is all natural, non-hormonal, hypoallergenic and 100% vegan! The ingredient list includes Purified water, Plant cellulose (from cotton), Carrageenan (a natural thickener made from seaweed), Organic Aloe, Natural vitamin E, Organic cyamopsis (guar gum), Potassium sorbate and Citric acid.
Treatment for Insomnia
Are you so tired you cannot keep your eyes open but still have trouble falling asleep, or worse, wake up after just a few hours? Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder affecting both men and women. For women, the fluctuation of the hormones estrogen and progesterone during menopause can take its toll on womens’ sleep patterns. The rapid change in temperature with the onslaught of flashes also prohibits many women from resting a full 7-8 hours/ night.
Rory offers an over-the-counter dietary supplement for the treatment of sleeplessness:
Melatonin is a natural hormone that we make in our bodies. It plays a role in our circadian rhythms which regulate wake and sleep patterns. Melatonin is released from the brain when the light gets low to signal sleep. Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamin) supplements are effective in treating insomnia by improving total sleep time, sleep quality and how long it takes to fall asleep. Unlike many other sleeping pills, Melatonin is not addictive or habit-forming.
For what it’s worth, Rory also suggests several lifestyle changes that can help you sleep better (not just for women during menopause, but in general):
- Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes or less.
- Avoid caffeine and other stimulants close to bedtime, in particular. However, it is best to forego them after 2 pm.
- Exercise. This helps as long as it’s not within a few hours of bedtime.
- Avoid heavy, spicy, or rich meals close to bedtime.
- Get exposure to natural daylight. Full spectrum lamps are useful in winter.
Maintain a regular bedtime and wake time—even on weekends.
- Keep the room cool (60–67 degrees Fahrenheit) and dark.
- Blackout blinds may be helpful. Move electronic screens (e.g., TV, laptop) out of the bedroom. In fact, it’s a good idea to avoid screens 1–2 hours before bed as the blue light they emit can disrupt sleep.
- Get exposure to natural daylight. Full spectrum lamps are useful in winter.
- Maintain a regular bedtime and wake time—even on weekends.
- Keep the room cool (60–67 degrees Fahrenheit) and dark. Blackout blinds may be helpful. Move electronic screens (e.g., TV, laptop) out of the bedroom. In fact, it’s a good idea to avoid screens 1–2 hours before bed as the blue light they emit can disrupt sleep.
Treatment for Lacking Lashes
Aging and menopause often cause hormonal imbalances that thin hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Women who have sparse and light eyelashes often seek a cosmetic remedy for longer lashes to enhance their attractiveness and femininity.
Rory markets the prescription drug Latisse, an eyelash lengthener, thickener and darkener:
Latisse (Bimatoprost Ophthalmic Solution)
Latisse is a spinoff of the development of an eye drop to treat Glaucoma called Bimatoprost. During the trials of the eye drop patients were delighted to discover that their eyelashes grew longer, fuller and darker while on Bimatoprost. At 16 weeks on the drug, patients had 25% increase in length, 106% increase in fullness and thickness in their lashes and 18% darkening of lashes. This resulted in Latisse, which was approved by the FDA in 2008 and is marketed as a safe treatment to lengthen, thicken and darken lashes over time.
Latisse is applied every night, after your nightly face washing routine. It takes two months of nightly use to begin to see results. You may be able to reduce the treatment schedule to every other night after three or four months to keep eyelash growth stimulated. Eyelashes naturally sprout, grow and fall out. When you stop using Latisse, eyelashes will gradually return to their natural state.
It is not clear how Latisse actually works but studies conducted before FDA approval concluded Latisse is safe for most people.
How much do Rory’s menopause products cost?
Now that you have an overview of Rory’s various remedies, their potential side effects, and use cases, it’s time to dig into cost. Here’s a handy chart to summarize all that we’ve discussed so far and compare prices:
Menopause Treatment Pricing
|Hot Flashes||Paroxetine HCL
|–||Starting at $30|
|–||Vitamin E + Black Cohosh||Starting at $20|
|Vaginal Dryness||Vaginal Estradiol Cream||–||Starting at $60|
|Starting at $13|
|Sleep||–||Melatonin (5mg)||Starting at $9|
|Lashes||Latisse (Bimatoprost Ophthalmic Solution)||–||$111 per month|
Note that Rory’s pricing varies a tiny bit based on how much you order. The “starting” prices quoted above are for a 3 month supply.
Verdict: Rory Review
The subject of women’s health later in life has felt very private and discussing it has seemed taboo. Many women feel alone as they experience uncomfortable side effects while moving through menopause. Exploring HelloRory.com is like having a private conversation with a knowledgeable, albeit biased, best friend in the comfort of a very feminine environment.
The site is full of general information about the issues their products address: Hot Flashes, Vaginal Dryness, Sleep, and inadequate lashes. There’s compelling evidence that the products they offer will correct the affliction. But what about the side effects and drug interactions that exist with their products? Chances are women willing to take prescription drugs for menopausal symptoms are taking drugs to treat ailments such as diabetes, blood pressure, depression, arthritis, kidney and bladder problems, glaucoma, lung disease and others.
It is worth noting that menopause is not a disease. Many women travel through menopause without hormone replacement therapy or the non-hormonal treatments offered by Rory, in relative comfort. Following an anti-inflammatory diet, getting adequate aerobic exercise, and relaxation practices can help address the many practical problems that menopause can bring. If those don’t help, we recommend giving Rory a shot. There is no reason to suffer through disinterest in sex or physical discomfort during menopause, and Rory can help.
We’ve written a number of reviews of women’s health and wellness subscriptions, including birth control (comparing the startups Nurx, Hers and The Pill Club) and Organic Tampon providers Kali, Lola and Cora. It’s exciting for there to be so many new solutions for women’s health and wellbeing, and we love learning about new products. Let us know if you’d like us to review other products!