Menopausal women need access to HRT therapy, campaigners tell MPs

Menopause mandate for Sir Lindsay Hoyle in the House of Commons.

Campaign day ended with Sir Lindsay Hoyle signing a pledge to make the Commons “menopause friendly” (Image: UK Parliament)

Menopause activists spent a whole day putting renewed pressure on the government to prioritize women’s health.

The Menopause Mandate group was founded less than two months ago and around 400 people have already reached out to the activists with their stories.

Many women said that menopause and inadequate treatment caused them to lose their jobs, destroyed their relationships, and some even said they struggled with suicidal thoughts.

On Monday, the group told MPs: “Until every single woman in perimenopause has access to a trained professional and HRT is available and affordable for all, we at the Menopause Mandate will not have achieved our goals.”

Journalist and broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, who has written a book on menopause, said: “For too long we’ve been told to just ‘move on’ and ‘grin and take it'”.

Menopause is when a person misses their period because their hormonal cycle has changed with age.

It can be accompanied by uncomfortable symptoms such as severe hot flashes, depression and mood swings.

Many people feel that menopause is one of a number of women’s health issues that don’t get enough attention or recognition.

For example, the Commons heard today how it took 54-year-old Linda Wallwork, from Harrow, 10 years to get a diagnosis so she could be prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Rising demand for the treatment prompted the government to appoint an HRT czar last month, but campaigners want more action.

The Menopause Mandate has called on the government to make HRT free in England – as is the case in Scotland and Wales.

Health Secretary Maria Caulfield previously said she was “laser-focused” on making menopause easier for women next year, with hopes of making it cheaper in England soon.

Carolyn Harris, Labor MP for Swansea East, led a debate on menopause in Westminster last week.

This led in part to Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle signing a pledge to make the Commons “menopause-friendly” for staff.

The pledge commits employers to supporting female workers going through menopause in ways that could include access to fans in the office – to relieve hot flashes – or flexible working from home.

At the time, Sir Lindsay said he had “no choice” as Ms Harris is such a “force to be reckoned with”.

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Justin Scacco

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