"Please help me as I'm tired fighting"

About: NHS Lanarkshire Stobhill Hospital / General Medicine

(as the patient),

I have previously posted on Patient Opinion about my struggles to get appropriate care and support to manage early menopause here entitled "Why is it such a fight to get treatment". https: //www. patientopinion. org. uk/opinions/124939

I was then delighted to be able to post again that very much as a result of my PO post I had some success in accessing a new drug therapy, and also highlighted the excellent partnership working between myself, my GP and my new Consultant https: //www. patientopinion. org. uk/opinions/167091

It is with a heavy heart that I'm back again as once again it seems that accessing the appropriate treatment is going to have to be another mountain I need to climb. At my recent appointment I was advised that there is an issue with supply's of oestrodial implants that may affect patient care. I am very aware that this has been an on-going issue for many years and I am led to believe that its not always dealt with as an urgent matter as there is a belief held by some in the field that women can simply use alternatives such as HRT in gel or tablet form. For many women yes this is a viable option however for some women like myself who have experienced early menopause at a very early age and who are very obviously greatly challenged by their own reproductive system - we need good consistent levels of oestrogen to replace what is not being produced my our own endocrine system. In my eyes - the same as some one has diabetes or thyroid issues needs help with their endocrine system - so do ladies like me who through no fault of our own have been left with an endocrine system which doesn't fully function as it should.

For 5 years I have tried to manage my symptoms; which at times have been very distressing, using gels and patches. Yes my symptoms include the stereotypical hot flushes and night sweats which are awful enough. Then add into the mix lack of concentration, confusion, anxiousness, low mood, sore joints, palpitations, memory problems and crushing fatigue. Combine that with the risk factors of NOT being on adequate HRT at my age: "Women with untreated premature menopause are at increased risk of developing osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, dementia, cognitive decline and Parkinsonism and all cause mortality. " (British Menopause Society)

I have tried almost every type of HRT in the BNF - some with more success than others. I even resorted to trying anti-depressant medication which for some women appears to help. Nothing has alleviated my symptoms and given me the quality of life that I feel I am now on my way to achieve using hormone implants. I say on my way to achieving - as we are still trying to get the correct dose but this again is difficult due to the financial implications and limits on availability of my medication. Then there is the issue that I am being treated out of area - because there are no services that can treat me within NHS Lanarkshire! ! But lets look at it this way - when I am well I function at a very high level. I work hard, I run my own successful business and I put back into the health care system that I am asking to treat me. I exercise and I take good care of my overall health & well-being. I can be the wife and Mum that I want to be. When I am well - I am not visiting my GP or using any other NHS services other than a blood test every 6 weeks to monitor my levels. I am very pro-active in my own self-management as I know this is a long term condition that I need to live with until at least normal menopause age which I am 20 years away from. So - I guess a penny of prevention really is worth pound of cure......

I hope that this post has helped the service providers to see what a difference the right medication and support can make and I sincerely hope that it makes them realise that women like myself don't choose to need the support we are asking for - we have been dealt the same ill-health card as those living with other endocrine disorders - yet I have never yet heard of people with diabetes being unable to access a specialist service and the medication that they need. All I am asking is that we are treated with the same respect and afforded the same access to treatments which can be life changing.

For other women who are struggling and would like to help us campaign to #changethechange please visit Menopause UK where you can also find a map of services http: //menopauseuk. org/2014/10/28/out-of-the-picture-what-we-found-when-we-tried-to-map-menopause-care/

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Responses

Response from Wendy Drysdale, Senior Midwife, Maternity Services, NHS Lanarkshire

picture of Wendy Drysdale

Dear Dazzle,

I am sorry to hear you are continuing to experience difficulties. I have discussed your patient opinion post today with one of our Consultant Gynaecologists Dr Clare Willocks, who is happy to contact you. Please contact our Patient Affairs Manager Yvonne Ross on 01698 366558 with your details and we shall pass these to Dr Willocks.

Kind regards

Wendy

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Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear Dazzle,

I am so sorry for the experiences you have had over the 5 years that you have been dealing with your symptoms of early menopause. I have read through your last posts and I am sorry that you once again find yourself in a position where you feel this frustration.

You have put a lot of detail into your posts and write very powerfully about the effect this has on you. I would like to take some more time to look into this properly, however I felt that I wanted to acknowledge the time and effort you have put into highlighting this issue and to let you know that I have read your comments carefully. I will be back in touch as soon as possible with hopefully some more information.

With best wishes,

Lorna

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Update posted by Dazzle (the patient)

I want to say thank you for the prompt and compassionate responses. Early Menopause is harrowing enough at my age without this constant fight for treatment. I notice that many professionals including MSP's have looked at the post. I am involved in campaigning for better services and if anyone would like to discuss this and support me please leave a post as a reply with contact details and I will be in touch.

Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear Dazzle,

Sorry to have not come back to you sooner - I have passed this on to the relevant department and they are looking closely into the experiences you have highlighted, however it would be of great help if you could contact me directly with a little bit more information. If you would be happy to do that, my email address is lorna.gray@ggc.scot.nhs.uk.

Many thanks,

Lorna

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