Women in the UK going through the menopause have experienced difficulties in obtaining hormone replacement therapy supplies during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the British Menopause Society.

In response to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) shortages, Haitham Hamoda, chair of the British Menopause Society (BMS) has issued an update on the current availability of HRT products to provide guidance to clinical practitioners.

The guidance comes as the society warned that HRT, which helps many women control difficult menopausal symptoms, is currently especially important because of the additional stress that many women find themselves under as a result of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

More than 75% of women experience menopausal symptoms and a quarter of these women describe their symptoms as severe. HRT is the most commonly used treatment for managing the symptoms of menopause, which will on average last for seven years, but for some women the symptoms can be long- term.

The BMS guidance offers advice for healthcare providers on supplying similar or equivalent HRT doses should they experience difficulty obtaining current preparations. The document clarifies equivalent doses of different HRT options, including the use of separate prescribing of oestrogen and progestogen, as well as offering a practical prescribing chart.

Joint guidance from the BMS, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) continues to advise GP surgeries and healthcare professionals to continue to discuss menopausal issues via telephone or virtual consultations and offers healthcare providers guidance on the restoration of services as the pandemic continues.

The guidance includes information on the following areas:

· Menopause services and menopause consultations

· Prescribing HRT and HRT shortages

· Unscheduled bleeding on HRT: assessment and management during the Covid-19 pandemic

· Menopause training.

A version of this story first appeared on our sister title, Nursing in Practice.