This post is a full-on ‘menopausal mutter’. I’m giving you fair warning now. Feel free to close this post down now and browse through my other posts.
Still with me? Ok. Here we go. At the end of last month, the UK Government made a monumental decision which will affect menopause treatment costs for 51% of our population. Not only that, but a task force has been set up to address the appalling lack of support for menopause in the workplace. Medical schools are adding this neglected subject to their curricula and HR departments are being actively encouraged to develop policies to help everyone in the workplace, not only those of us going through these unavoidable changes.
My last brush with HRT was quite an expensive one – even though the product was one tablet, because it contained two substances I was charged per substance, not per prescription! The new charging scheme looks like we pay once for a years’ worth of repeat prescriptions, and those preparations with two substances will only incur one charge. This step is not as far as most of us wanted it to go, considering we have no choice in the matter. It’s not as if we can avoid menopause. But for now, it will do.
I’m five years postmenopausal and still having the odd flush and night sweat. In a cool yoga studio, I was the only one removing layers. The more mature ladies in the class noticed and said, ‘enjoy your trip to the tropics!’ Five minutes later the layers went back on as my thermostat went the other way and I felt like a flexible block of ice.
Most days these temperature fluctuations are more or less manageable, if a little embarrassing. What’s not so manageable are the other things menopause brings with it. Brain fog, loss of self-confidence, inability to focus. I could go on, but I’ve misplaced my list. An odd thing just happened as I typed the word ‘list’. As the letter ‘u’ is right next to the letter ‘I’ on my keyboard, I accidentally typed the word ‘lust’. Maybe this was my subconscious having a little laugh at my expense. She’s not wrong either, more’s the pity!
Five years ago, I would have simply accepted my lot. Back then HRT was demonized, held in reserve in case of persistent patients, and even then, only for a short time. Fast forward to today, and I’m delighted to report a complete overhaul of prescribing pathways and duration of treatments. Not only that, but it also turns out that there are more benefits than previously understood… the balance of risk versus benefit has swung back in favour of benefits.
This information has yet to percolate all the way through to our local GPs. My grumpy/feisty self won’t let me be fobbed off easily, so I’ve decided to bypass the local doc in favour of seeing an actual menopause expert privately. I realise that’s not an option for everyone, but I can, and so I will. It’s a measure of how much we need more of these services when I’m on a waiting list to join the patient list!! While I wait, they’ve sent me a link to download one of the few NHS-approved apps for my phone. I’m now taking part in various observational projects looking into post-menopausal symptoms and treatments. What fun. My first experiment is looking at the use of medical-grade daylight lamps and improvements in sleep and mood over the dark months. I’ll let you know how it goes.
In the meantime, I wish you all a safe and healthy weekend.