Painful sex, no sleep and brain fog… the cruel toll on women who cannot get their HRT

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  • The problem first surfaced in April when regulators asked chemists to restrict sales
  • Pharmacies cannot release more than three months’ supply of estrogen gels
  • Government guidance remains in place until the end of October
  • A recent survey found that 36 percent of women were having difficulty getting HRT.

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The ongoing shortage of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has left thousands of British women experiencing insomnia, painful sex and life-ruining mental health symptoms, campaigners have warned.

The problem first emerged in April when pharmacy regulators directed chemists to restrict the sale of HRT gels containing the female sex hormone estrogen. The move allowed pharmacists to offer available options without the need to contact the patient’s GP, but limited them to dispensing supplies for more than three months.

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Although the guidance remains in place until the end of October, earlier this month the government announced it was to disband the task force responsible for tackling HRT shortages as the situation ‘improved’.

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Joe Bryant, 52, an office administrator at Truro in Cornwall, is struggling to nab the HRT patch Estradot in July. She says: ‘I got some relief, but I still felt bad so in August my GP gave me a higher dose which I never got, so remained on a lower dose. I only have a few weeks of patches left.

The ongoing shortage of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) leaves thousands of British women enduring insomnia, painful sex and life-threatening mental health symptoms, campaigners have warned

The ongoing shortage of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) leaves thousands of British women enduring insomnia, painful sex and life-threatening mental health symptoms, campaigners have warned

The head of the group, HRT ‘Tsar’ Madeleine McTernan, has now returned to her previous role as Director General of the Vaccine Taskforce, overseeing the autumn COVID Booster Program.

However, The Mail on Sunday learned of at least five other HRT products that are now in short supply.

Dr Leyla Hanbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, says: ‘It’s a big problem right now. Pharmacists are spending a lot of time on the phone every day trying to sort out medicines for their patients.

HRT patches Evorel 50, Evorel Sequi and Estradot are out of stock. Sandrena Prison, on the list of shortages for the past three months, is ‘starting to come’ but is still often unavailable, Dr Hanbeck said.

The fifth product that is said to suffer from ‘inconsistent supply’ is Utrogestan, which contains the hormone progesterone.

A recent survey by the menopause support group The Latte Lounge found that 36 percent of women are still struggling to find the treatments that work for them.

Last week, Labor MP Caroline Harris, who is chair of the all-party Parliamentary Group on Menopause, invited her Twitter followers to share their stories of HRT shortages.

Dr Leyla Hanbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, says: 'It's a big problem right now.  Pharmacists are spending a lot of time on the phone every day trying to get medicines out for their patients.

Dr Leyla Hanbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, says: ‘It’s a big problem right now. Pharmacists are spending a lot of time on the phone every day trying to get medicines out for their patients.

She said: ‘The stock crunch crisis isn’t over yet – I’m still hearing from hundreds of desperate women. Some are traveling abroad where products are more freely available and can be purchased over the counter, or doing 100 miles round trip to rural areas just to find a pharmacy with stock.

‘Women are self-rationing to make their HRT last, because they can’t get their next prescription. Been waiting for few months and still no indication of the product they need in pharmacies.’

Dr Hahnbeck says: ‘A lot of the raw material to manufacture medicines comes from the Far East, so when you have a lockdown in China or there are logistics or transportation or high cost issues, the impact of getting those materials into the world is very important. but where they are needed. Happen.’

Patients have also told this newspaper how widespread the problems still are.

Joe Bryant, 52, an office administrator at Truro in Cornwall, is struggling to nab the HRT patch Estradot in July. She says: ‘I got some relief, but I still felt bad so in August my GP gave me a higher dose which I never got, so remained on a lower dose. I have only a few weeks of patches left.

The divorcee, who lives with her 21-year-old daughter, adds: ‘I have a terrible fog in my brain, and if I can only get a higher dose, that should help. I jumble my words, which is so embarrassing, and I can’t focus on work.

‘I burst into tears all the time, especially when the chemist says they don’t have my patch.’

Hayley Lambarth, 57, a mother of two who lives near Lowestoft in Suffolk, has used Estradot for four years. Earlier this year it became unavailable and she was prescribed an Estraderm patch, which doesn’t keep her ‘vicious’ hot flushes at bay.

Another said he has been unable to receive the Estradot patch on the NHS since February.  'I've had to buy from friends going to Spain.  It's not completely sustainable'

Another said he has been unable to receive the Estradot patch on the NHS since February. ‘I’ve had to buy from friends going to Spain. It’s not completely sustainable’

She says: ‘We were promised a while back that the shortage was over, but I still can’t find a product that suits me.’

Curtain maker Kara Williams, 54, of Alresford, Hampshire, says she has to switch HRT. She says: ‘Every time I change my treatment it takes about three weeks for my body to get used to it, and the chronic pain and symptoms – hot flushes and trouble sleeping and joint pain, like needles in my bones – start coming back.

‘I have a month of Sandrena left and then I’ll go to all the pharmacies again. I am scared of it.’

Several women have written about similar tensions on social media. One tells how he is ‘taking its toll’ not getting the supply of Estradot. She adds: ‘I felt suicidal before taking it and can’t imagine what would happen if I didn’t get my supplies the next time.’ She also suffers from vaginal atrophy, in which the vaginal wall can become…

Credit: www.dailymail.co.uk /

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