I have read horror story after horror story of how difficult it is to get HRT prescribed on the NHS at a GP Surgery.
It is, for this reason, and, that I was REALLY struggling to even get a GP appointment (Read my other article The Battle before The Battle) that I was so desperate to get a diagnosis or a true reading of my perimenopause - that I booked into a private medical menopause specialist clinic. I am more than aware that this is not an option for everyone, it isn’t actually for me either, but the need to get seen and sorted was so great. It was always my intention to get a clear picture of what was needed from the private medical consultation, and then use this to get my ‘life prescription’ sorted on the NHS.
For the private consultation I got a 45 minute meeting with a medical Menopausal specialist and GP and a true ‘diagnostic’ of what was happening inside my body, along with blood samples. After this - it was deemed that I was indeed in perimenopause and would medically benefit from testosterone cream daily, and oestrogen patches 2 x per week, which got prescribed and dispensed to me on that very day. I left the clinic armed with patches and cream…but I also had a question asked to me by the specialist, that meant I wasn’t able to start my hallowed HRT until I had the answer. The question was about the expiry date of my last change of Mirena coil. HRT is not recommended unless you have an ‘in date’ Mirena coil. By ‘in date’ I mean five years or less. So I leave the private menopause medical centre with testosterone cream and patches – ready to start – but I can’t until I get the answer from my GP surgery. Investigation at my GP surgery revealed that my Mirena coil was in fact a year ‘out of date’ and I would need to (you’ve guessed it) – need to book a GP appointment to get it removed and then another to have it re fitted. This set the whole process of HRT commencement date – back by 6 long weeks.
I didn’t realise that getting all the jigsaw pieces together would be so difficult, but finally after six more weeks I was able to start! This meant an in date coil, testosterone cream and patches were go! My next quest was going to be getting everything sorted via the NHS, so I went through the booking system and got a GP that I had been told was ‘menopausal friendly’ as and I got ready to have a fight to get my HRT. Like many people, I had read that it would be a good idea to go armed with information, and I took pages and pages of journaling that I had done recording symptoms. I really need to have worried - the female GP I got to see was amazing. Yes she only had 10 minutes to offer me, but they were valuable and she allowed me to talk and she certainly listened. At the end of it she said I am more than happy to prescribe you HRT. So now the only thing I will continue to need to buy privately is the testosterone cream. Finally, my HRT jigsaw is complete, now to see if it makes any difference… I’ve got an open mind, so we will see…
Angeline Davies is a qualified Health Coach Specialising in Perimenopause and Menopause.
Accredited By The PCI Royal College of General Practitioners.