experts in action

What's UP Doc? PCT and menopause

  • Jun 24, 2022
  • PCT, What's UP Doc
  • Dr. Herbert Bonkovsky


What's UP Doc? Is a monthly column where we feature a patient question along with a response from a member of the UPA Scientific Advisory Board.

Do you have a question you would like to ask a Porphyria Expert?  Send us an email at We’d love to hear from you!

Can starting menopause make PCT worse/relapse? (because phlebotomies are a treatment and if you stop having periods maybe iron builds up?)

This week our response was provided by Dr. Herbert Bonkovsky.

While what the writer asks is, perhaps, possible occasionally, in practice this had not proven to be much of a factor in increasing clinical features of PCT. In 50+ years of clinical practice, we have not encountered such an occurrence. More important risk factors for PCT are alcohol, hemochromatosis, chronic hepatitis C, and estrogen use. And treatment with low-dose hydroxychloroquine and/or therapeutic phlebotomies to keep serum ferritin within the range of 25-100 ng/mL are highly effective, regardless of menopausal status.

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Meet Dr. Herbert Bonkovsky

"With rare diseases, you could call every patient a clinical trial of one because each one is unique. It is important to listen to them and try to address their symptoms."

Dr. Herbert L. Bonkovsky
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Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (PCT)