Women are subject to menopause, whether they want it or not. Here’s why HRT should be available for all.

We have some exciting news for you.

Just over a week ago the Government agreed to slash the cost of HRT for women in England – in a win for Central Recorder’s Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign.

The oral contraceptive Pill is at least free on the NHS, and it should absolutely be the same for HRT, says Dr Zoe Williams


The NHS offers the oral contraceptive Pill at minimum for free. It should also be free for HRT, Dr Zoe Williams says.

It’s a vital first step in making this gold standard treatment available to more women facing menopausal symptoms. Even though HRT is subsidised by the NHS in the UK, it can still be quite expensive.

The cost can really add up if your HRT consists of multiple different types of medication – as is often the case – and it means those who aren’t financially stable or comfortable sometimes have to go without.

It is heartbreaking to think women who are suffering with symptoms that can be treated, because they can’t afford HRT. It’s been a huge barrier to treatment and it’s not good enough.

HRT replaces natural hormones that start to decrease as women go through menopause and perimenopause.

This drop in hormones is what causes women to experience a wide range of symptoms, including depression, anxiety, hot flushes and decreased sex drive.

These symptoms can have a devastating effect on many women, and that’s why making HRT more affordable is so important.

Don’t suffer in silence

Any woman who can safely take HRT should be able to – and it is a debate that taps into a bigger conversation around women’s health.

We women spend around ten years of our lives on our periods, and that’s expensive. The NHS provides the oral contraceptive Pill for free, which should be available for HRT.

Every woman goes through menopause, regardless of whether or not she likes it. Why should we pay for it? It’s a huge step to make it cheaper for women, but the Government should go further and make it totally free.

HRT will now become more easily accessible. What are the other obstacles to women receiving the treatment?

In 2002, a flawed study was published that raised concerns about the link between breast cancer and it. Consequently, there are still many GPs who hesitate to prescribe it even after decades.

We were first told about HRT when I was first introduced to it. Before making a decision, we had to make sure women understood the risks and benefits.

It is a woman’s decision, so if you want to take HRT, then you have every right to ask your GP for it.

Dr Zoe

It is a woman’s decision, so if you want to take HRT, then you have every right to ask your GP for it. First and foremost, don’t suffer in silence. If you feel like your GP isn’t listening or isn’t being helpful, get a second opinion.

Your practice nurse can be contacted by calling. They are usually very knowledgeable about menopause and can help you get prescribed HRT (some nurses can also prescribe).

What is the menopause, and at what age should it begin?

Menopause is an inevitable part of aging. It typically occurs when a woman reaches the age of 55 and 45.

The UK’s average age for women to experience menopause, is 51.

It happens when the body’s levels of oestrogen start to drop.

These times are when periods decrease in frequency or abruptly stop. After menopause, women will no longer be able naturally to fall pregnant.

About one in 100 women will experience menopause prior to the age of 40. This is called premature ovarian dysfunction or premature menopause.

Many celebrities have shared personal stories, including Lisa Snowdon (Davina McCall), Michelle Heaton, Zoe Hardman and Michelle Heaton. 

What are the signs?

Menopausal symptoms can begin months to years before your periods stop. They can also last up to four years, or more, after your last period.

These are the symptoms:

  • Hot flushes
  • Periods of change or irregularity
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety, loss of confidence
  • Depression, irritability, and low mood
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
  • Reduced libido (sex drive)
  • Probleme with memory or concentration
  • Weight gain
  • Bladder control

While HRT is the gold standard for women, it isn’t the only way they can relieve their symptoms. It is important to pay attention to lifestyle changes such as exercising and good nutrition.

I’ve been working with Linwoods who have developed a food product called Menoligna, designed specifically to help women during this milestone in life.

It’s crucial that women get enough of certain nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D at this time. When it comes to exercise, strength training is important – not necessarily big weights – as it can help boost muscle and bone health.

So, given we’ve taken this vital first step in the right direction to ensure more women get access to HRT, it’s now up to us GPs to give every woman a chance to thrive at this time of life.

The Government agreed to slash the cost of HRT for women in England in a win for Central Recorder's Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign


The win for Central Recorder’s Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign saw the government agree to reduce HRT costs for women in England.
Celebs hail the ‘historic moment’ when HRT is reduced for women going through menopause in victory for Sun campaign

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