We asked menopause experts about alternatives following news of a national shortage

Around a million women in the UK use HRT treatment to control their menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, mood swings, and night sweats, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Around 2.5 million hormone replacement therapy prescriptions are issued every year in England in the form of patches, pills or gels. But with the UK currently facing a national shortage, many menopausal women have been left without their normal treatment to ease menopausal symptoms.

Why is there an HRT shortage?

Women are suffering due to a nationwide shortage following supply and manufacturing issues, leaving many pharmacies out of stock of the most commonly prescribed brands. GPs have warned that over half of HRT drug brands are out of stock, and this shortage could continue until 2020 due to supply chain problems.

Which types of HRT are affected?

The types of HRT affected by this shortage are mostly tablet forms of combination preparations containing oestrogen and a progestogen. Some hormone combination patches have also been affected.

In response to the shortages, the British Menopause Society has produced an update on the current availability of HRT products and brands in the UK.

It’s important to speak to your GP if you are unable to get hold of you usual prescription as although you may not be able to receive the brand of HRT you normally receive, the pharmacist or GP can usually come up with a suitable alternative.

What are the alternatives?

This Morning’s Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Dr Larisa Corda said, “While the HRT shortage is frustrating for many women, it is helping to draw attention to HRT alternatives that may be available. While we know that hormone replacement therapy can help ease symptoms of fluctuating hormones during the menopause, there are many alternatives to consider if HRT isn’t the right – or available – choice for you.

“I would advise anyone who is considering alternatives to go and see their GP in the first instance, who can always refer to a specialist if required, to discuss your individual situation and needs.”

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