The Irish Medical Times - Lack of HRT is cramping my style


I was taken off the HRT with the warning that I was a candidate for early menopause. “Oh God, not again” I thought. 

In my mid 40s I could tell that my reproductive system was winding things up (again). 

As I had been through it before, I knew I needed HRT and I knew it might take a while to get the right dose and combination. I also appreciate that HRT is not for everyone.

This time around I wasn’t on my own, most of my friends were staring into peri-menopause, and had the education and vocabulary to know it. 

Menopause has moved from a taboo to a reality. There are TV shows dedicated to it, day time radio shows talking about it, there are expert hubs and specialist GPs who know all about the coil, the dot, the patch, the gel, the spray, the tablets, the combos, and the primrose oil in the pear tree. 

There was a fear factor associated with HRT that has lessened to a degree with the increase in safer options. Transdermal HRT patches have proven not to increase your risk of developing blood clots (a risk associated in the past with oral HRT). Per Cancer Research UK - “HRT can create a slight increase in risk for cancer, but for most people the benefits of taking HRT outweigh the risks.” 

With this explosion in awareness and women proactively safeguarding their physical and mental health, it's very surprising that the supply of HRT hasn’t caught up with demand. Every few months my pharmacist will tell me there’s a global shortage of patches, he has rung everyone and can’t get me anything. The supplier is aware, they will deliver them when they are in stock, but they have no idea when that will be. 

I’ve been on HRT for a couple of years and this ‘spike in demand’ excuse has been rolled out by the manufacturers for years. It’s not a spike if it stays up! 

I looked up the world famous pharmaceutical manufacturer of my HRT patch. Of the 14 Executives and Senior Management, only 3 are women. We can assume 80% of the people in charge of supplying my HRT don’t use the product. Does this have a bearing on the priority allocated to ensuring a smoother supply? Imagine if toothbrushes were largely made by people who had never used one, or schools run predominantly by Principals who had never sat in a classroom - it’s unthinkable.  

This isn’t an auxiliary product or an optional medication, this is keeping women from being derailed. If every middle aged woman (and person with a uterus) in Ireland stayed in bed for a week, can you imagine what we would wake up to? 

There would be no teachers in my daughter’s school, half the businesses in my local village would be closed, all volunteering in the area would grind to a halt. There would be some Lord of the Flies kids republic stuff going on in my house. I’m not speaking disparagingly of our male counterparts, but society needs a balance of genders to function. 

I shouldn’t have to say this but women are a crucial part of society. We are economically productive, we are significant contributors to families and communities. We are essential in fostering intergenerational progress which leads to a better life for the next in line. The very least we deserve is some consistency in our sense of self. 

As humans we should look after other humans as a priority - please make more patches. 

Read the online article here - Lack of HRT is cramping my style