Woman says she will have to give up work if she runs out of HRT amid shortage

Some women have been forced to travel hundreds of miles in search of the medicine.

28 April 2022

A woman has described her dependence on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) amid a supply shortage of a certain type of the drug, saying that running out would be “catastrophic” for her physical and mental wellbeing.

Shortages of the medicine, which is used to treat the symptoms of menopause, have been so severe some women have been forced to travel hundreds of miles in search of it.

Around a million women in the UK rely on HRT.

Sarah Smith, 53, from London, told the PA news agency: “It will be catastrophic for me if my supply runs out and I stop abruptly. It will cause a mental and physical impact that will likely see me have to give up work.”

Describing her experience of menopause before she used HRT, Ms Smith said she experienced approximately 30 hot flushes each day and “intense brain fog”.

“I forgot how to do my job. Menopause ruined my life.

I had completely lost sense of my identity, and all joy in life. I just existed and was, like a lot of women, considering giving up work as I could not cope with it.

“It’s taken me about seven years to get what’s called the gold standard of HRT. This current gold standard treatment allows me to make the journey back to who I used to be.”

Marion Swarbrick, 47, from West Lothian, Scotland, told PA she had experienced suicidal thoughts before being prescribed HRT.

“I’m really worried about not being able to get HRT as menopause also affects moods,” Mrs Swarbrick said.

With just a week’s supply left, she said she visited a Boots store to get more but was told it was unavailable.

“(Without HRT) I will become an irrational monster going between laughing, crying, suicidal and angry. It will also bring back hot flushes,” Mrs Swarbrick added.

“Women will die from this if it’s not sorted out. I’ve also got CPTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) and my mental health has been awful lately.

“I really don’t want to have the menopause mood swings return to add to my mental health.”

– The Samaritans can be contacted on 116123 or email jo@samaritans.org

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