Saturday, May 14, 2022

Superdrug criticized for £99 perimenopause screening

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Superdrug has been accused of “playing on women’s frustration” at the NHS’ failure to diagnose them as perimenopausal after the health retailer introduced new £99 screenings for women.

The High Street shop unveiled Britain’s first perimenopause health screening service on High Street this week – with the test, which involves a blood test looking at the key hormone levels and areas of health that menopause can affect.

Perimenopause refers to the period before menopause – hormones often fluctuate during this time and sometimes menopausal symptoms begin.

Menopause experts told LatestPageNews Superdrug is offering a service that should be provided by the NHS, arguing the healthcare retailer is taking advantage of doctors’ lack of awareness of menopause and perimenopause.

The majority of the 3.4 million women aged between 50 and 64 in the UK will experience menopause symptoms – these range from heart palpitations to hot flashes, vaginal pain, mood swings and more.

Carolyn Harris, the chair of the parliamentary group specializing in menopause, said LatestPageNewswas suspicious of Superdrugs screenings because the company offers a “blackmailing” service that women should be able to access for free through the NHS.

Ms Harris, Labor MP for Swansea East, said: “This is scandalous. To charge women £99 for a diagnosis they should get free from the NHS.

“Blood tests by themselves are not a reliable way to get a diagnosis, and even if a hormone deficiency is found, patients still have to go to their GP for treatment – ​​just as they would without the test . The results of this test also do not determine the treatment that a family doctor offers.

“This is a high street business trying to capitalize on the increasing profile that menopause has had in recent months and capitalize on the demand for diagnosis and treatment.”

Ms Harris warned that all blood tests for hormones are inherently unreliable as hormones fluctuate depending on the time of day and the state of your body at that moment.

She added: “Even if the test comes back and says you’re not perimenopausal, the doctor will want to run their own test.

“Doctors will not prescribe hormone replacement therapy – the treatment to relieve menopausal symptoms – based on the home blood test.

“I’m really worried about that. There are so many women out there who are frustrated because doctors say they are not going through menopause or perimenopause. Women can turn to this as a panacea to fix everything.”

Ms Harris said she always has concerns about organizations or companies trying to make money from a service that people should be able to access for free.

The politician warned Superdrug not to “profit from women” who are at risk because they don’t get the basic recognition from doctors that they’re going through menopause. Ms. Harris criticized physicians’ lack of awareness of menopause, noting that about 41 percent of medical schools do not have menopause on the curriculum.

In addition to looking for hormones, Superdrug’s perimenopausal screening will also look at calcium, magnesium and vitamin D levels, as these can worsen menopausal symptoms, as well as assess your cardiovascular health and thyroid profile. Ms Harris noted that these tests can be accessed free of charge on the NHS.

Kathy Abernathy, a menopause specialist, narrates LatestPageNews: “The problem is that a blood test alone cannot effectively diagnose menopause – the diagnosis should be based on a person’s symptoms and personal history.

“This new health check highlights the barriers that people going through menopause face: a lack of awareness and a lack of accessible, affordable support from menopause professionals.”

While perimenopause generally begins when a woman is in her forties, women begin perimenopause at different ages.

Haitham Hamoda, chairman of the British Menopause Society, said LatestPageNews: “I don’t think patients or women should buy these tests as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) guidelines do not recommend tests to confirm menopause.

“The diagnosis of menopause should be based on symptoms and changes in menstrual patterns.”

dr Shahzadi Harper, who specializes in perimenopause and menopause, said that hormonal blood tests are “overly reductive” as she explained there is no blood test that will tell you whether you are in perimenopause or not.

“It’s more about your symptoms, not the blood test,” she added.

dr Harper argued that Superdrug “exploits menopause awareness like others do.”

She added: “Perimenopause is a good time for a general health screening and this screening includes some important tests. You should always discuss your symptoms with a doctor. Women should have a general health check from midlife.”

The new screening comes as the UK is gripped by a shortage of hormone replacement therapies, used to relieve physical and psychological menopausal symptoms.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) estimates that more than a million women in the UK are currently on some form of hormone replacement therapy.

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