Women who need medicine to stave off symptoms of menopause are struggling to access the treatment they need, a minister has admitted.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is given to women to help relieve hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and night sweats.
Health Secretary Marie Caulfield has now said that women face a postcode lottery with treatment.
The MP stressed that some GPs don’t even know they can prescribe drugs.
The Sun’s Amazing Menopause Issues campaign was launched in October 2021 to empower women to claim the healthy menopause they deserve, calling for free HRT for all people.
The Department of Health announced that women will be able to buy a year’s worth of pills for the cost of a single prescription – £9.95.
But many women will need two hormones, so that will cost £18.70.
There are two types, systemic hormone therapy and low-dose vaginal products.
Ms Caulfield told House of Commons MPs that the HRT cost-cutting plan would not come into effect until next April, Daily mail reported.
She said that patients in different parts of the country receive a ‘very different service.
The MP stressed that technical problems will mean that prepayment certificates will not be able to be implemented until 2023.
MP Carolyn Harris, who introduced the original bill to have free HRT, said she was ‘annoyed by the delay’.
She explains that many women with severe symptoms cannot afford a prescription at current costs.
More than 1.5 million women each year are thought to experience postmenopausal symptoms, with 150,000 of these prescribed HRT.
If you think you need to receive HRT then you should contact your doctor.
What is HRT and the side effects you need to know
By Mamie Serah Mboob
Hormone replacement therapy is a medication given to women experiencing menopausal symptoms.
HRT is a replacement for the hormone estrogen that women’s bodies stop making when they start menopause.
Who can have HRT?
Women going through menopause or having symptoms of menopause. Symptoms of menopause can be:
· Hot flashes
· Prevents bone loss and fractures
Vaginal symptoms (itching, dryness, burning, and discomfort during intercourse)
Symptoms / Side Effects?
The side effects associated with HRT depend on the type of therapy you’re taking, the dose you’re taking, your medical history, and how long you’ve been taking it. Some of the side effects are:
· Blood clots
· Breast cancer
· Heart problems
· Vaginal spotting
· Sensitive breasts
Most practices have at least one general practitioner with additional degrees or an interest in these areas.
You should keep a diary of your symptoms for a while so that you can take them to your doctor and clearly explain when they occurred and how this is affecting your life.
After discussing your symptoms, your doctor will explain the different types of hormone replacement therapy available to you.
If you meet the criteria of a possible patient for HRT, your GP will then start you on a low dose of the hormone.
Patients are often encouraged to try the treatment for three months to see if it works.
Usually, your progress will be monitored during follow-up appointments to check for any associated side effects.
Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion from another GP if you don’t feel heard.
Be wary, however, that you may go to doctors expecting to prescribe HRT, but be told that this medicine is not right for you based on your medical history or otherwise.
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https://www.thesun.ie/health/8521579/hrt-postcode-lottery-gps-not-knowing-prescribe/ Getting HRT is a lottery by postcode with some GPs unaware they can prescribe important treatment