Tuesday, June 4, 2024

HRT is a Feminist Issue


It's the second doctor's appointment I've had in about six weeks about this. 

HRT patches, at the moment, in Australia, are in short supply, which means many middle-aged women who are managing menopausal symptoms are scurrying to find their medication, if, they can find them at all. 

I went to see the shopping centre doctor because I'd managed to track down another brand of patch, but even though it's the same strength, same chemical compound, same way of using the patch, I had to get another prescription. No such thing as a generic oestrogen patch it appears. 

That was $60 out of the holiday budget I won't see back. 

Being told in the weeks before that these patches are in short supply, I started looking for my next round of patches early, because the thought of being hot, sweaty, grumpy, leaky, dry, sleepless, exhausted and partly psychotic doesn't really interest me, and knowing that you can't get your patches means you can make choices.

So, I had a telehealth appointment with my doctor today, to look at the options. 

It's a daily pill, or a gel. 

"How can they let patch production dwindle to a point where we're running out? What are the TGA, or whoever controls when these things come in and out thinking about letting these crucial strips of plastic, which you plaster to your body twice a week be not available. 

Oestrogen is a life force for many of us. 

It provides more than just a comfortable body temperature. 

It helps regulate your moods.

It stops your pelvic floor from dropping out from between your legs. 

It keeps your skin feeling a bit more pliable. 

It allows you to have sex comfortably for all concerned, especially keeping your vagina from tearing or feeling like a sandpaper encrusted vice. 

It helps you keep the psychos at bay - whatever your flavour of psychosis may be. 

And yes, you can tell me that this is all a part of life. 

But if menopause was happening to a man, we would have had a lot more solutions, which would not go into shortage at regular intervals. I mean, when was the last time you heard about a Viagra shortage?

Talking to my lovely doctor, she recommended a gel, still topical, but not the set and forget of the patch, more a daily application to the upper arms and thighs once a day. A bit messy, but at least the oestrogen will get in. And it's available. 

Of course, the messy option is readily available. 

There is also a tablet form, but that could play with my blood pressure, so we're not going that route. 

It galls me that this crucial, non-PBS medication, which makes life worth living for so many women, is allowed to sell out. 

It's fucked. 


On the other side of things, as I was signing off from the phone call with the doctor, sitting in the tea room, at work, looking out over the Darwin duck pond, she raised the other point.

"So, when are we going to talk about you getting that ADHD/austism diagnosis. You don't know what can help if you don't know."

"When I get more than a few weeks back in Melbourne and I've saved up the $1000 it costs to get yourself assessed."

"You should do it. It might be of benefit."

"I know. Have you watched Geek Girl on Netflix?"

"Not yet." (My doctor and I talk about what's on Netflix - we have very similar taste in streaming telly.)

"Well, if you watch in, when you see Harriet Manners, know that her thought processes mirror mine. It's a hard relate. Just without the modelling and maybe a little more self-awareness."


"Hey, I'm neurodiverse. So, I don't quite know what flavour that is. I like the wine. I maybe don't need the label."

"You're quoting Schitt's Creek."

"It's a good analogy."

We talk the same language. 

Today's song: 

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