Gransnet forums


HRT shortage

(87 Posts)
LaraGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 12-Nov-19 15:01:32

We've been keeping an eye on this story, not least because we know it affects some gransnetters. It doesn't look as though the situation is improving though and we wanted to find out if any of you who are using HRT are finding it difficult to get hold of? Or how would you feel if you did find yourself in this situation? It appears that so many women are finding their health and wellbeing compromised with no real answers forthcoming from the government or healthcare providers as to when this is likely to change. We'd love to hear your stories.

maybemaybenot Tue 12-Nov-19 15:24:52

It is almost impossible to get it in my area. I was using Evorel Sequi but that is now rarer than hens' teeth. I switched to Evorel 50 plus oral progesterone but now can't get those patches either. The GP just told me to keep looking but I have tried everywhere and found nothing. Initially I was told that the shortage would be over in October but when I did some googling yesterday I saw that they are now talking about summer 2020 at best. I have no idea what I am meant to do until then

B9exchange Tue 12-Nov-19 15:29:16

I was switched in August to a different make of the same drug, and bizarrely am doing even better on it, so have been given a further supply.

If you want an update on your own supply, you can check it out here

NfkDumpling Tue 12-Nov-19 15:38:00

I use Premarin pills. Not a popular one as its a natural one from mares urine and the method used to obtain it isn’t the best. But it’s the only one which works for me and I have tried many chemical sorts - pills and patches - but none worked well. No problems with obtaining it, but it does come from Canada.

PamGeo Tue 12-Nov-19 15:48:20

Premarin is unpopular and rightly so, it's barbaric cruelty for the greedy suppliers.

Please please don't use this, try anything, go cold turkey and let the menopause pass just as puberty did, try anything else but this.

agnurse Tue 12-Nov-19 15:51:10

PSA: Ladies, please make sure that if you still have your uterus, you check with your provider regarding your need for progesterone. Unopposed estrogen should not be used in a woman who still has a uterus, because it can increase the risk for endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus; sadly, not a theoretical risk as this is the most common reproductive malignancy in women). Your provider will be able to tell you exactly what you should be taking.

QuaintIrene Tue 12-Nov-19 16:02:39

I didn’t take HRT I just suffered,terribly but it’s done with now.
But my friend has had problems with her usual tablets and was offered Premarin. She won’t take them because of the ethical issues but also because her Rabbi says it’s not kosher.
Last I heard, she is weaning off her meds and seeing how she feels. Pretty rough I expect.

lottieloves Tue 12-Nov-19 16:03:32

From experience and what I understand the above regarding progesterone is absolutely true. You can get progesterone easily in tablet form or by using a Mirena coil. But the oestrogen is more problematic to obtain if you want it in patch form. Orally `i think it is readily available still. Overall it boils down to which form of HRT suits you best. Many women find that patches do but that is an issue in terms of supply right now

Tooting29 Tue 12-Nov-19 16:23:40

Never used HRT, so can't comment. I had an enforced menopause and just got on with it.

kircubbin2000 Tue 12-Nov-19 16:35:59

As it's not an actual illness just get over it.

Tangerine Tue 12-Nov-19 17:24:30

I had HRT for a couple of years after a hysterectomy but was then told I ought to stop having it.

I accept I was fortunate but I didn't experience any difficulties at all when I stopped taking it.

Perhaps people could try coming off HRT. I understand some people will truly find it impossible.

Tooting29 Tue 12-Nov-19 18:24:43

I sometimes wonder how our mothers coped pre HRT.

Hotmama Tue 12-Nov-19 18:25:33

I use Estradot patch, 50mcg which is not available. Fortunately I went to Tenerife on holiday and was able to get a supply over there. I just showed my prescription and they ordered them for me. I was more than happy to pay for them whereas I usually get them on the NHS. Not everyone is lucky enough to sail through the menopause. I had no quality of life for 12 years with no sign of it improving. I wasn’t able to ‘get over it’ or ‘get on with it’. HRT has given me my life back. If the shortage continues and I am unable to get the patches in the UK then I shall take another trip to Tenerife, that’s how much my HRT means to me.

Hetty58 Tue 12-Nov-19 19:13:39

Tooting29, they just had to put up with the menopause, just like the vast majority of women do today. After all, it's not an illness.

Magpie1959 Tue 12-Nov-19 19:43:02

I'm with you hotmama, how anyone thinks they have the right to say 'get on with it' or 'get on with it' is beyond me. But Hey Ho there are a lot of unreasonable posters on here.

I suffered terribly when I came off HRT so recently went back on it - on the advice of my GP. I trust his judgement not the biased and over-opinionated posters on here (I would go to Tenerife and buy a supply too)!!

To get back to the OP - I have no problem getting HRT patches but rarely the same brand and I am only prescribed one month at a time whereas I used to get three months at a time.

Magpie1959 Tue 12-Nov-19 19:45:34

should have said.....or "get over it"


Cp43 Wed 13-Nov-19 10:00:17

You’ll find from the HRT clinic (NHS) if your fortunate enough to find one and persist with your GP for referral, that menopause does not have a cut off period. It can last a lifetime. They also prescribed my HRT and progesterone and said most (younger) GPs were ill informed and foisted their opinion onto patients. I got my latest patches from France. I’d be suicidal without them.

Wilma65 Wed 13-Nov-19 10:06:04

My mum used Premarin and it caused her breast cancer. Something to consider as well as the ethical issue

Cambia Wed 13-Nov-19 10:07:36

Why on earth would you suffer if you don’t need to? Things have improved since our parents day and we are lucky to have the choice of HRT should we need it.

If you didn’t need it be grateful and don't put down other women that did. We are all different.

Hotmama Wed 13-Nov-19 10:09:17

Thanks for your empathy Magpie, much appreciated. I do know that my mother suffered terribly from crippling migraines and hot flushes and also died at the age of 53. Women nowadays are expected to hold down responsible jobs until their late sixties, made even harder if they are suffering from menopausal symptoms. We weren’t expected to live much longer than our childbearing years and therefore didn’t experience the effects of the menopause for so long. My sister is 82 and is still getting hot flushes! For SOME women it never stops. No, you’re right, it isn’t an illness but it can certainly make you FEEL very ill indeed.

Tigertooth Wed 13-Nov-19 10:14:34


As it's not an actual illness just get over it

What a stupid and ignorant comment.
It can be a breeze, it also be totally debilitating and in worse cases lead to long term MH problems and suicide. Or are MH problems not real either? Ffs.

Lilyflower Wed 13-Nov-19 10:14:36

My HRT, Kliovance is not on the shortage list and so I have a decent supply.

I suffer from anxiety and stress and the HRT keeps me balanced and reasonably happy. I agree with the above poster who commented on the variability of doctors and their willingness to prescribe HRT.

I recently nearly had kittens when a young, inexperienced GP did not like my lowish blood pressure reading and was all for refusing to prescribe unless the next reading was better. She took two more readings, each higher than the last and the final one was through the roof - because she was threatening to take my HRT away! Doh!

I came home, calmed down and sent in three more blood pressure readings by phone, all the usual very low numbers and the clinician approved the prescription, thank goodness.

TheHag Wed 13-Nov-19 10:14:45

Why do women undermine each other like this? Everyone's experience of the menopause is different and to say "just get on with it" is wrong. Let's support each other and save our criticism for those who have let this happen. I suspect if this didn't only affect women it would be more of a priority.

inishowen Wed 13-Nov-19 10:22:27

I dont know about HRT but my husband and I are finding a problem getting our blood pressure medication. Basically the pharmacist seems to have very low supplies. She ends up giving us a couple of days supply then waiting on an order coming in. This had been happening for months.

Paperbackwriter Wed 13-Nov-19 10:37:54

kircubbin2000 What an unpleasant and aggressive comment your "just get over it" is. That was totally unnecessary.

Paperbackwriter Wed 13-Nov-19 10:39:31

The shortage I'm finding at the moment is my brand of contact lenses. I also think my HRT (Tibolone) is on the list. I certainly haven't had the usual delivery to my local Boots. I take it ever other day as a kind of maintenance dose and wouldn't want to be without it. I feel it keeps me sane and my bones healthy.

Abuelana Wed 13-Nov-19 10:51:11

Is this part of the cause and effect of Brexit do you think. I don't take HRT but I do take BP tablets.
Just a thought - why now are these medications not available?

GoldenAge Wed 13-Nov-19 10:56:43

I have a couple of comments to make here. Having had a particularly bad menopause and had to come off the HRT for medical reasons, I fully sympathise with anyone who needs this and can't get it. I struggled through with sage tea but found the flowers from the Turkish sage, much more helpful than the leaves from the sage plant common here.
I do also know some women way into their 60s who don't need HRT and want it simply to keep their hair and nails as they used to be. Personally, while I believe in every woman's right to look as she wants, in a climate of austerity and non-availability of certain medications, I think women who fall into this category should not be prescribed.
And finally, am I right in believing that certain HRT brands are not available because of Brexit? If so, I hope the many people who are posting on here and voted to leave the EU are beginning to realise the enormous changes that this decision has brought to our daily lives already.

Rivernana Wed 13-Nov-19 11:32:24

Agree that the comment 'just get on with it' is thoughtless and aggressive. Menopause can cause very debilating problems which can affect the individual and wider family - so if there is help available why not take it. I took HRT briefly but it didn't suit me so I just gritted my teeth and managed till the symptoms abated. My poor husband probably suffered during this time. I have a friend who is struggling to get supplies and gets friends who are travelling abroad to buy supplies for her because you can get them across the counter, without prescription, in countries like Spain. Not something I advocate but I guess you will do anything if you are desperate and the pills are from a proper Chemist rather than the dodgy stuff you get on line. I am running a petition to save NHS funds by reducing waste of prescription medication and other equipment to address these sort of shortages - this following recent personal experiences with the NHS - here is the link if anyone would consider supporting me by signing and sharing.

sarahellenwhitney Wed 13-Nov-19 11:53:44

I watched my late mother cope with the menopause and the discomfort it can bring as many did when HRT was not at that time available. She got through and lived to ninety three. What was good enough for her was good enough for me and I too have survived without HRT.Now waiting for the hmmits all right for you etc etc etc.

Funnygran Wed 13-Nov-19 11:59:25

I was lucky enough to sail through the menopause with no real problems. I sympathise greatly with those that do suffer and being told to get on with it isn’t helpful. Thinking back to how our mothers coped - I must have been in my early teens when mine went through it. She never ever spoke about illness and hated visiting the GP but I remember she had a spell when she was very low, always turning the heating down as she was so hot and found fault with us all including my Dad! So in hindsight I suspect she would have been a prime candidate for HRT.

deanswaydolly Wed 13-Nov-19 12:48:50

Not the same but we cannot get epinpens for my granddaughter. Prescription still outstanding since August when she was hospitalized and nearly died due to peanut allergy. The epipens saved her life whilst waiting for the ambulance. It absolutely terrifies me that we cannot get it ( we do have one spare)

Kathy1959 Wed 13-Nov-19 12:59:10

I made the decision to not take HRT if I could help it. My mother died from breast cancer, aged 63, and I’m 60 now. I know they’ve looked at these issues with a new approach the last few years, but the seed was sewn for me, and didn’t want to take the risk. I have to say, that generally, I’ve coped. The last three years, I’ve felt below par on and off, and haven’t felt like me. The worst has been sickness( another thread ). From what I’ve read about HRT, it only really treats hot flushes, and settles down any intermittent bleeding. Since neither of these has been a problem to me, there was no point to HRT. I know there are women who are worse than me and it must be awful if they can’t get the one thing that helps them. I wish you all the best 🤔

blondenana Wed 13-Nov-19 13:08:39

If anyone is saying get on with it and get over it,then they have either not reached menopause or have sailed through it
I am still getting flushes and night sweats,and my mother used to say she felt like running into the sea,as we lived at the seaside it was worrying,as she got very hot and wound up,and did disappear at one time

blondenana Wed 13-Nov-19 13:12:14

Goldenage if anyone wants HRT to keep their hair and nails nice,they might be very disappointed, my hair is falling out since i have been back on HRT

blondenana Wed 13-Nov-19 13:18:06

paperbackwriter i am on Tibolone and had no problems getting it, my Dr said it was one of the easiest to get.but thinking of stopping it as i am losing hair and wonder if this is the cause,it is very androgenic

Hetty58 Wed 13-Nov-19 13:20:21

It's not that I'm without sympathy. I had a truly horrible menopause (still get hot flushes) but HRT was not for me. I have little faith in doctors so I would have worried far more about taking it than enduring a natural process.

Women rightly object to pregnancy (another natural process) being viewed as needing medical intervention. Monitoring, assistance and checks are welcome, of course.

Nobody can tell how they would have been (long term) without their HRT, given time to adapt and adjust to their next stage in life. Menopause intervention remains a first world problem and even here, three quarters of women manage without it.

Surely, availability of life-saving drugs is a far more important concern?

Hetty58 Wed 13-Nov-19 13:27:58

Drug shortages have absolutely nothing to do with Brexit. The problems began way before the referendum and are due to manufacturing problems along with shortages of ingredients.

MissCherryCakeyBun Wed 13-Nov-19 13:30:32

I have been struggling to get Everol 50mg for months and have now been given a different scrip for a different Brand but on 40mg. Not at all ideal as I had a period out of the blue for the first time in years as my body struggled to cope with the change.
This brand is also now in short supply confused. Not all women have easy menopause I struggled for several years before the Dr suggested it would help the problems I had including hormonal migraines and wow it’s like I have my life back. I work full time and have a demanding job so I need to feel I can function as a normal human everyday without turning bright red being covered in sweat and having time off with debilitating migraines.
And yes I tried alternative Supplements and got now relief at all

Let’s support each woman in their own choices and not belittle others choices.

Hetty58 Wed 13-Nov-19 13:32:11

Esspee Wed 13-Nov-19 13:33:39

Firstly I have oestrogen implants twice a year and thankfully when I attended the clinic a couple of weeks ago I was told they have no problem with supplies and supplies of patches have been affected by manufacturer supply problems, absolutely nothing to do with Brexit no matter what the scaremongers try to portray.
Secondly women on HRT actually SAVE the NHS money as the protective benefits to a woman's health saves money, for example the protection against osteoporosis.
Finally HRT doesn't help hair and nails but does give life to your years. I have been assumed to be mid fifties just this week. I am 70. Excuse me but I need to get back to work (6 days this week on my feet all day and loving it).

Hetty58 Wed 13-Nov-19 13:38:22

We are all different. I found that my regular migraines increased in frequency and intensity when I was pre-menopausal, then they disappeared altogether (thankfully) when my periods stopped. I feel just great these days!

sandelf Wed 13-Nov-19 13:51:14

Re face it or don't face it. From ages 13 - 51 I had vile bloating, unpredictable cramps and nasty periods. Imagine my relief at swapping this for some hot flushes - no pain and lots of sympathy. I'm one of those for whom the menopause is the best thing ever!!

Jools444 Wed 13-Nov-19 13:53:57

When I saw the thread “HRT Shortages” I thought I should respond as I have started HRT this week. However, I was a little surprised at some of the unsympathetic and judgemental comments as after all, everyone’s experiences are different and surely needing medication is nothing to be ashamed of??
I saw my GP on Monday after having a hysterectomy and both ovaries removed 6 weeks ago. I was prescribed Estradiol gel which I apply to my arms. My GP said there have been production problems with the adhesive in the patches which started the shortage and therefore the demand for other forms of HRT have gone up, causing further shortages. Fortunately I was able to get my medication from my local chemist.

Tinydancer Wed 13-Nov-19 14:03:23

Fortunately I am passed needing HRT and hope people don't experience too many difficulties with obtaining it. I am terrified of not being able to get my meds for heart problems, just taking a dose late has landed me in hospital before now. Memory problems caused by low B12/Folate, hopefully and not dementia. I really hope we don't end up with a no deal Brexit as although it is off the table for now supposedly, I heard this morning that it could still happen if we don't reach a deal by the end of 2020.

Keeper1 Wed 13-Nov-19 14:19:41

I went through menopause without a hitch but now I have all sorts of complications from lack of oestrogen etc that I am under a consultant I have estrogen pessaries and a sort of HRT that stimulates the body so does not contain hormones. No menopause isn’t an illness but if you had suffered the last two years I have as a result of menopause you wouldn’t say get over it.

Liz46 Wed 13-Nov-19 14:21:02

Jools, I had the same operation but had to wait for a few months before starting HRT. Once I started, it was like a miracle. I had had such problems since I had children that I thought that 'this is what it must be like to be a man'!
A few years ago my GP thought I should give up HRT and a while later, I had the one and only panic attack I have every had. I was Christmas shopping with lots of bags and I had a bad hot flush. There was nowhere to put the bags and I felt I had to strip!
I managed to get an appointment with a GP (young and male so definitely not my first choice). He said that I was old enough to make up my own mind and gave me a prescription, bless him
I am still on the lowest dose Evorel about 30 years after my hysterectomy and I think it is protecting my bones as I had a dreadful fall and didn't break anything. So far I have not had any problems in getting the Evorel.

Dyffryn Wed 13-Nov-19 14:34:39

Don’t let people on here put you off. I have been on HRT for years, I do sometimes worry about possible side effects. On it I feel amazing, off it awful. You need to do what is right for you.

Dyffryn Wed 13-Nov-19 14:36:32

Oh and I am having terrible problems getting hold of elleste solo, have been for nearly a year now.

Urmstongran Wed 13-Nov-19 14:55:55

I’m very lucky as I sailed through the menopause over 12 years ago. Never needed medication. Hot flushes for a few months but that was it.

I’m just posting to say I hope the shortages are soon rectified for all you ladies who need HRT and feel benefits from taking it.

Also, I must add, I’m pleased if it had to happen at all, that the shortage of this and recently, Epipen and in some areas the ‘flu vaccine have occurred too soon to be blamed on Brexit!

Let’s all remember this post-Brexit (next year).

Tooting29 Wed 13-Nov-19 15:19:26

I went through an enforced menopause at 42 as a result of chemotherapy treatment and to quote my consultant "my ovaries waved a white flag". It wasn't pleasant, hot flushes, ac hes and pains and heart palpitations as well as certain dry areas. I was offered HRT when my treatment was over but declined as I did not want my body invaded with more chemicals. After a few months all the symptoms lessened and a learned that no caffeine and exercise and a calm life helped the palpitations, Ky jelly sorts out my important places, and avoiding red wine meant no flushes. As a result the menopause has been a liberating experience free from hormonal fluctuations and chemicals. I understand that other women suffer greatly and HRT is advised for osteoporosis but I made a conscious choice not to go down HRT path and do not regret it

Tooting29 Wed 13-Nov-19 15:21:49

In fact I am more concerned about epilepsy medication for my recently diagnosed daughter without which her life could be seriously affected

Millie22 Wed 13-Nov-19 15:24:31

My only experience of hrt was a doctors appointment to discuss it and being given a prescription for anti depressants. I went back a couple of times more but was told take the anti depressants.

ruthie2 Wed 13-Nov-19 16:19:06

I haven't used HRT for around 20 years, but there was a shortage of Evorel Conti patches even then. It was blamed on the manufacturer. So, absolutely nothing to do with Brexit!

Sweetness1 Wed 13-Nov-19 16:25:37

Dr also said take antidepressants as thought I’m past menopause age ...(I know friends my age who will not come off it) ..eventually one sympathetic dr said try it - HRT patches seemed to work against sweat/anxiety symptoms dr said didn’t agree ..and as my thyroid was ‘on the cusp’ of low - prescribed thyroxin faith in really being understood by drs is zero!

agnurse Wed 13-Nov-19 16:42:14

IME, generally HRT is recommended if a woman has at least 2 or 3 signs and symptoms of menopause and they are severely impacting her life.

If all you have is one or two signs or symptoms, often those can be addressed with medication that specifically treats the problem (e.g. clonidine for hot flushes, antidepressants for depression).

Some women become very debilitated with menopause, especially if it was an abrupt menopause (e.g. due to removal of the ovaries). In those women, I think HRT is absolutely something they should discuss with their provider.

I would strongly recommend that anyone considering HRT speak to their provider. As I mentioned before, if you have an intact uterus, you can't take estrogen just by itself without progesterone as it can cause endometrial cancer. On top of that, some other medical conditions such as high blood pressure can make it unsafe for women to take HRT. If you've been advised not to take HRT for a medical reason, also be very careful with any supplements - some herbs, such as black cohosh and dong quai, can have similar effects to HRT and can't be used in women who can't use HRT.

NfkDumpling Wed 13-Nov-19 16:50:06

I'm reading this thread with interest as I'm reluctantly on Premarin - I do know where it comes from PamGeo and the way the horses are kept, but so far it's the only thing that's worked for me. And no, I cannot manage without it. My DM did and it ruined her life. She didn't get through the menopause. It changed her character, ruined her marriage, ruined her relationship with me and mine and ruined her health. I have tried coming off gradually and fast but each time I've found myself heading in the same direction she did and it's not somewhere I want to be.

I've tried various synthetic alternatives but none have worked as well as Premarin and my doctor says there's nothing else. But there's been various names popping up on this thread which I don't recognise. I need a manufactured oestrogen only HRT to replace the Premarin. Suggestions would be welcome (although obviously not patches as I gather there's trouble in China with the glue - it's probably obtained from whales or something).

JoJo58 Wed 13-Nov-19 16:57:38

Kircubbin2000 We know it's not an illness but as many others have said it is very unpleasant and can be very debilitating I can only assume you haven't been through it yourself, really if you have nothing nice to say don't say anything, you can upset a lot of ladies by your comments who are suffering, please be careful by what you say, yes you have your own opinion but if you are going to be aggressive keep them to yourself perhaps show a bit of sympathy if you have any, I too have to use HRT patches Everol 50 so far no problem getting them from my chemist. sorry for the rant ladies hope I wasn't ott thank you.

glammagran Wed 13-Nov-19 17:03:28

I don’t think the shortage of various drugs have anything to do with Brexit as I believe Belgium in particular is having huge problems with the supply of medications. As so many drugs are now manufactured in Asia I wonder if we are being “held to ransom” from drug companies and are not being told. Just about the only policy cited by Corbyn I agree with is to manufacture our own drugs in the U.K.

Hotmama Wed 13-Nov-19 17:09:49

NfkD I suggest you go on the Menopause Matters forum. There’s a wealth of useful information and some very informative, experienced ladies on there who may be able to help you find a suitable alternative to Premarin.

Caro57 Wed 13-Nov-19 17:35:11

While we’re in that area - a reminder to those who have had a hysterectomy but still have some cervix - you should still have cervical screening / smear checks if you in the screening age range

NfkDumpling Wed 13-Nov-19 18:48:47

Thanks Hotmama.

MamaCaz Wed 13-Nov-19 18:50:26

As it's not an actual illness just get over it.

How would you cope if, within a short time of going through the menopause, your vagina shrank so much that intercourse was either excruciatingly painful -imagine feeling like your vagina is being cut with a knife - or totally impossible?
How would you feel if that same atrophy led to frequently recurring UTIs and/or thrush-type infections?

That is just the thin end of the wedge for many.

You are either lucky or ignorant or both!

Saggi Wed 13-Nov-19 19:06:29

Don’t use it.... never did due to two strokes.

agnurse Wed 13-Nov-19 19:46:59


Quite correct. Also, if anyone has had a hysterectomy specifically because of cervical cancer, you still should have a vaginal vault smear periodically to ensure that the cancer has not recurred. (If you do not have a cervix and the hysterectomy was not due to cervical cancer, check with your provider as to whether you should still be screened.)

Dancing Wed 13-Nov-19 21:20:00

Please do t tell women to “just get over it, it’s not an illness”. I had a full hysterectomy at 49 and went straight into menopause. They put me on HRT and I was fine. After 17 years I was told it was no longer safe to stay on, and was taken off. I never had a full nights sleep for three years, the hot flushes drove me crazy. When I emigrated here to Australia 8 years ago I saw my doctor and he put me back onto HRT. I am currently on Climara 50, we have problems with supply here as well, but still able to get them. I am seventy five, and feel very well for my age, it isn’t an illness but you have to weigh up your quality of life. I feel the benefits out weigh the small risks.

4allweknow Wed 13-Nov-19 23:57:14

Tried HRT fir horrendous menopausal symptoms. Lasted 9 months as I was racing about trying to keep up with myself. Goodness, when I think of it, I was mad to consider trying to stop a natural phase of life. Have heard supplies are difficult to get hold of but HRT isn't the only kind. DH takes hormones for prostate cancer and they are hard to come by. Prescriptions issued monthly for 28 days treatment. Last two months there has been problems so he has had breaks in the treatment and his hormone levels gave shot up. A bit more worrying than lack of HRT.

Menopauselbitch Thu 14-Nov-19 01:07:22

Oh that’s alright then as long as it works for you who gives a fuck about the torture of the horse.

LinkyPinky Thu 14-Nov-19 05:41:15

I agree saying ‘get over it’ was a bit harsh, but I also feel that shortage of HRT is a bit of a first world problem, that we have become over-reliant on pharmaceuticals at the expense of other solutions and that the effect of people peeing these chemicals into the environment every single day is catastrophic for the environment.

GagaJo Thu 14-Nov-19 06:24:32

None for me. I had a hysterectomy as prophylactic surgery (I had a risk of recurrence from BC) at 40 and for the first few months the effects of sudden, too early, menopause were brutal. BUT not undoable.

Don't want ANYTHING that increases my cancer risk again.

janeainsworth Thu 14-Nov-19 06:31:54

kircubbin and others who have made judgemental comments to those who take HRT - how do you define the difference between an ‘illness’ and a condition which results in life-changing symptoms?

Is osteo-arthritis an illness, a condition, or a normal part of the ageing process? Do you apply your pull-yourself-together logic to arthritis sufferers too? Should they suffer in silence or is it ok for them to take pain-killers and anti-inflammatories to manage their condition?
If not, why not?
If it is, what’s the difference between someone who has intolerable menopausal symptoms and someone who suffers from arthritis? Or perhaps a closer comparison, someone who is hypothyroid and takes synthetic thyroxine to manage their hypothyroidism?

Linkypinky the effect of people peeing these chemicals into the environment every single day is catastrophic for the environment
Could you post some evidence to back up that assertion please?

NfkDumpling Thu 14-Nov-19 08:17:48

I seem to remember jane the media jumping on a report several years ago about hormones getting into the water systems because of the numbers of women taking the pill. Worry about men becoming impotent? I think it applied most in areas like London where (allegedly) water is drunk seven times before it gets to the sea. (I’m probably well out of date on this!)

TerriBull Thu 14-Nov-19 08:40:46

Good God "it's not an actual illness just get over it" yes like others I assume the writer has never suffered any of the debilitating effects associated with the menopause. Enough is written on the subject to know how extreme those side effects can be. Mine hasn't been great tried hrt but had to come off it. I still suffer from some of the down sides of the menopause, but thank my lucky stars that they aren't as bad as those some women are afflicted with, and which I don't doubt for one moment exist. Consider yourself really lucky if you float through it, there are a whole gamut of symptoms associated with the menopause from very mild to severe. I don't really think you have to live it to understand it to know that it isn't always possible just to get over a condition that affects your quality of life so adversely.

pharmacistguide Thu 14-Nov-19 20:38:05

Hi all. I am a pharmacist. I work for 3 London CCGs supporting the GP practices in my area. There is clearly a mixed experience in the management of HRT shortage. In my role I have had to deal with a number of queries from GPs asking for HRT alternatives. A table of information detailing the shortages and alternatives was circulated about two months ago but the only updates we receive are on individual medicines so it’s up to us to keep on top of the information. The same information is circulated to all GP practices so I would hope that after a discussion on the HRT and risk of cancer is had and you still wish to continue, the alternatives are shown and a choice can be made. Not all GPs are clued up on HRT as there is a wide choice but there should be a team equivalent to mine to give them that support if needed.

Nanna58 Fri 15-Nov-19 10:20:35

Evorel patches for me, and yes they are in very short supply. I can’t deny I’ll be unhappy without them, but am even more worried if this situation apply to people taking life dependent drugs. And , kircubbin2000 I’m guessing from your comments you were lucky enough to have a trouble free menopause, so just be very thankful and butt out!

jura2 Fri 15-Nov-19 11:57:00

Sensible post Nanna. Lack of empathy to say 'tough luck' and of course it is very different for those who need HRT because of hysterectomy or cancer, etc - to those who want it to look better and feel younger...

But very sensible to say it can't be compared to life drugs which are essential for life threatening conditions, surely.

icanhandthemback Fri 15-Nov-19 13:45:12

Tooting29, they just had to put up with the menopause, just like the vast majority of women do today. After all, it's not an illness

As it's not an actual illness just get over it.


My consultant would not give me a hysterectomy without promising that I would take an oestrogen pill for as long as possible. It has revolutionised my life. I knew that PMT affected me but until I had the hysterectomy and HRT, I had no idea just how compromised my mental health was. When I am without oestrogen I suffer really badly from low self esteem, paranoia and massive eating problems. I also suffer from a lack of bone density which is exacerbated by a lack of oestrogen so whilst the menopause is not an illness per se, it can cause problems that I really don't need if I can avoid them.
I now feel in control of my life and will take HRT for as long as I am allowed to.

jura2 Fri 15-Nov-19 17:17:13

You are making the point well- that in case of real shortage, GPs and Consultants should prioritise those with genuine needs.

janeainsworth Fri 15-Nov-19 20:31:31

Jura you seem to be suggesting that some doctors and consultants prescribe HRT inappropriately.
Why would they? In the NHS at least, what would they have to gain from prescribing HRT to a woman who didn’t really need it?

jura2 Fri 15-Nov-19 20:36:28

Not suggesting that at all. But there are different degrees of 'need'- some are more severe than others. For a large number of illnesses- not just hormone depletion.

ClareAB Fri 15-Nov-19 21:16:33

That depends how you define illness. Severe menopause symptoms can have a devastating effect on every day life and make it impossible to carry out normal daily activities. Don't knock it until you have been through it.

jura2 Fri 15-Nov-19 21:18:53

no knocking it- just saying there are different degrees of severity- and that in case of shortage, medical staff will have to prioritise. As they will do with other medicines for other conditions- as they do with organ donation, etc. Very difficult job, of course.

janeainsworth Fri 15-Nov-19 22:22:31

But jura you said “GPs and Consultants should prioritise those with genuine needs”

That implies that some women who are now being prescribed HRT don’t have genuine needs confused

Hetty58 Sat 16-Nov-19 09:07:47

janeainsworth, I believe that is true. Of course, women will go to the doctor when they feel awful. They know others who take HRT and swear by it. We're all tempted by 'magic pills' to help us cope (with lots of pressure to cope) and doctors are very inclined to prescribe just to manage their patient load.

The natural menopause, without HRT, involves periods of feeling absolutely rotten and other times when symptoms recede and we feel fine. There's no way anyone can tell, for sure, how much HRT helps them.

janeainsworth Sat 16-Nov-19 09:43:38

hetty We're all tempted by 'magic pills' to help us cope (with lots of pressure to cope) and doctors are very inclined to prescribe just to manage their patient load

Speak for yourself. Many people cope with life’s difficulties without resorting to a ‘magic pill’. And if someone does feel they need help in the form of anti-depressants or HRT, so what? Why should they live a life of misery because of a hormonal or serotonin imbalance?
And that’s an outrageous generalisation about doctors. Clinical decision-making is between a doctor and their patient and who are you to say many doctors prescribe inappropriately?

Razzy Sun 17-Nov-19 19:26:15

I thought I would avoid HRT. I was never particularly hormonal. I have to have a medical every year for work, and one year she gave me some info on HRT and suggested that I might look into it. As I did some research I realised that I had been suffering symptoms for quite a while. I thought I was going mad. Maybe it was having a young child still. I was anxious, not much in the way of hot flushes, memory was poor but the anxiety and stress was causing real problems. It got to the point where I would have had to give up my career just to deal with the symptoms I was experiencing. Menopause is not an illness but then neither is pregnancy. Giving birth is not an illness but hordes of women take drugs for it! I didn't have any drugs or gas and air for giving birth, I never really take any medicine, but I felt it was worth trying HRT.
If I was "just" on my own pottering about at home I would be able to cope with the symptoms, but to continue in a high level professional job which is known for high stress, would have been impossible.
As for supply, the first time I tried to get a repeat prescription I couldn't. This was a big thing for me because I have to have 2 weeks off work for any new drug/ medicine. My Dr suggested patches as they have lower risks, and I switched. I've not had any supply problems since, but no HRT would mean I could not work, so for me the benefits outweigh the risks.

Hotmama Tue 19-Nov-19 12:41:14

Razzy, pleased you are doing ok with the patches. I emailed the online Independent Pharmacy to see if I could get an update on the supply of Estradot patches and I received a reply yesterday.
‘I’m sorry to say the treatment you are enquiring about is currently out of stock with all the pharmaceutical wholesalers in the UK and we currently do not have a date when it will be available from the manufacturer’.
And so it goes on!