Women's health seriously at risk as HRT shortages rock the UK

Plus, what the experts advise you do, if you're short.

HRT shortage UK 2022: A woman using a HRT patch

Plus, what the experts advise you do, if you're short.

In health news this week, hormone replacement therapy shortages are forcing women to seriously risk their health.

Around a million women in the UK take hormone replacement therapy pills as a way of dealing with both menopause and perimenopause symptoms yet, at current, are facing acute shortages, meaning many have been left without medication.

The difficulty in obtaining medicines is believed to be the result of ongoing supply problems.

HRT shortage UK 2022: "This must be resolved as quickly as possible."

Speaking exclusively to The Guardian, the UK’s most senior GP and the chair of the Royal College of GPs Professor Martin Marshall has warned that the HRT supply crisis must be resolved quickly as a result of it affecting "so many women."

“The college is concerned to see supply issues around the provision of HRT, and we understand the distress this is causing to so many women,” he said. “It is really important that this is resolved as quickly as possible."

“We are hearing that the supply issue is specific to England, as there has been a big rise in the demand for the oestrogen, particularly transdermal, we use. There is not the same problem with the supply of some of the other oral preparations which are appropriate for many women in the UK and give good symptom relief.”

It's thought that many women are even turning to the black market as they are scared that suddenly stopping their medication will cause serious - and lasting - damage. The newspaper also shared that some women are travelling upwards of hundreds of miles just to obtain medication.

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All experts are advising women not to do this, as your medication is often specific to you and your unique requirements. Similarly, it's always advised to get medication from a medical professional.

The supply issue is believed to be specific to England, at current.

Speaking to Marie Claire UK, Dee Murray, the CEO and founder of the Menopause Experts group stressed that this is a big issue which needs to be addressed - and urgently.

She said: “The HRT shortage is causing stress and potential harm for women, with some pushed to take matters into their own hands and look for supplies online. This could have a devastating impact on their health, as HRT should only be prescribed by qualified healthcare practitioners who understand the patient’s history.”

Health secretary Sajid Javid has shared that he is "determined" to solve the crisis and will use the same method employed in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout to make sure HRT supplies resume as soon as possible.

If you yourself are concerned about the HRT shortage UK 2022, do consult with your medical professional as they will be best positioned to help you during this difficult time. And remember: you are not alone.

Ally Head
Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, eight-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She regularly hosts panels and presents for things like the MC Sustainability Awards, has an Optimum Nutrition qualification, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw, with health page views up 98% year on year, too. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.