PRESCRIPTION charges for critical HRT drugs should be scrapped, MPs have said.
And they want all women aged 45 to be offered a NHS check to better prepare them for the menopause.
It begins around the age of 50 – with 13 million Brits affected.
It is triggered when the body stops making the hormone oestrogen, and can cause a wide range of symptoms, including mood swings, poor sleep, joint pain and lack of concentration.
Now the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause says not enough is being done to help millions of women.
As well as GP checks, it wants better training for medics to help spot symptoms earlier.
The government was forced to boost HRT access this summer after critical medicines ran out, with cases highlighted by The Sun’s Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign.
Now ahead of World Menopause Day next week, MPs are calling for more concrete action.
Carolyn Harris, Chair of the APPG on Menopause, said: “The taboo around the menopause still prevails in all corners of society – in workplaces, within families and among friends, in education, and in the medical profession.
“Access to HRT remains a postcode lottery for women in the UK and there is a stark divide between those who can afford to seek treatment elsewhere, and those who cannot.”
Brits are currently offered a free NHS health check once they hit 40 – but it focuses on early signs of stroke, heart disease, diabetes or dementia.
But MPs say GPs need to go one step further.
The APPG said: “The NHS must implement a health check for all women at the age of 45, offered in a similar way to cervical cancer smears when all women are invited to make an appointment.
“This is crucial to ensure women are engaged with the health system ahead of or in the early stages of perimenopause, help diagnose menopause at an earlier stage and ensure women are better prepared.”
Women also continue to face a postcode lottery on accessing hormone replacement therapy.
One witness told the APPG’s year-long inquiry: “[I was] routinely offered antidepressants… despite me not experiencing any depression or even a low mood.”
Another woman suspected she was in the early stage of menopause aged 39, but was turned away by her GP.
Some 18 months later she was “almost at the verge of collapsing, struggling to keep my usually happy marriage on track and not functioning”.
MPs say too many women are still not being offered HRT by their doctors.
The report adds: “Busting the myth around the use of HRT is essential to ensure more women can get the treatment they need to manage their symptoms which can have a huge impact on their day-to-day lives.”
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