Gransnet forums


HRT shortage

(88 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.

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!