Superdrug has been accused of “cashing in on” on ladies’s “frustrations” over NHS failures to diagnose them as perimenopausal after the well being retailer launched new £99 screenings for girls.
The excessive avenue retailer unveiled what it billed because the UK’s first perimenopause well being display service on the excessive avenue this week – with the check together with a blood check which examines key hormonal ranges and areas of well being which might be impacted by the menopause.
Perimenopause refers back to the interval main as much as the menopause – hormones usually fluctuate throughout this time and menopausal signs typically begin.
Experts on the menopause instructed The Independent Superdrug is providing a service which ought to be supplied by the NHS, arguing the well being retailer is capitalising on docs’ lack of consciousness of the menopause and perimenopause.
The majority of the three.4 million ladies aged between 50 and 64 within the UK can be experiencing signs of the menopause – with these starting from coronary heart palpitations to sizzling flushes, vaginal ache, modifications in temper and far more.
Carolyn Harris, who chairs the parliamentary group which specialises in menopause, instructed The Independent, she was cautious of Superdrug’s screenings as a result of the agency is offering an “extortionate” service which ladies ought to be capable of entry without cost through the NHS.
Ms Harris, who is the Labour MP for Swansea East, mentioned: “This is scandalous. Charging women £99 for a diagnosis that they should be getting for free on the NHS.
“Blood tests themselves are not a reliable way of getting a diagnosis and even if a hormone deficiency is detected, patients will still need to go to their GP for treatment – exactly the same as they would do without having had the test. The results from this test will not determine the treatment that a GP offers either.
“This is a high street store trying to take advantage of the increased profile that the menopause has had in recent months and cash in on the demand for diagnosis and treatment.”
Ms Harris warned all blood assessments for hormones are inherently unreliable as hormones fluctuate relying on the time of day and what state your physique is in at that second.
She added: “Even if the test comes back and says you are not perimenopausal, the doctor will want to do their own test.
“Doctors are not going to prescribe hormone replacement therapy – the treatment used to alleviate menopausal symptoms – based on the private blood test.
“I really worry about this. There are so many women out there who are frustrated as doctors say they are not menopausal or perimenopausal. Women may turn to this as a panacea to get everything sorted.”
Ms Harris mentioned she at all times had issues about any organisation or agency looking for to make money out of a service which individuals ought to be capable of entry free of cost.
The politician warned Superdrug was “cashing in on” ladies who’re susceptible attributable to failing to get the essential recognition they’re menopausal from docs. Ms Harris hit out on the dearth of consciousness concerning the menopause amongst docs as she famous some 41 per cent of medical colleges do not need menopause on the curriculum.
Superdrug’s perimenopausal screening is not going to simply test for hormones but additionally examines Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D ranges as these can compound menopausal associated signs, in addition to their cardiovascular well being, and thyroid profile. Ms Harris famous these assessments can all be accessed without cost on the NHS.
Kathy Abernathy, a menopause specialist, instructed The Independent: “The problem is that a blood test alone cannot effectively diagnose menopause – diagnosis should be based on an individual’s symptoms and their personal history.
“This new health check emphasises the barriers facing people of menopausal age: lack of awareness and lack of accessible, affordable support from menopause experts.”
While the perimenopause usually begins when a lady is of their forties, ladies begin the perimenopause at totally different ages.
Haitham Hamoda, chairman of the British Menopause Society, instructed The Independent: “I don’t think patients or women should go out and buy these tests because the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) guidance doesn’t recommend testing to confirm the menopause.
“The diagnosis of the menopause should be based on symptoms and changes in period patterns.”
Dr Shahzadi Harper, who specialises within the perimenopause and menopause, mentioned hormonal blood assessments are “overly reductive” as she defined no blood check exists which can inform you if you’re perimenopausal or not.
“It is more about your symptoms, not about the blood test,” she added.
Dr Harper argued Superdrug have been “taking advantage of menopause awareness, like others are doing too”.
She added: ”Perimenopause is a superb time for a common well being check-up and this screening does contain some key assessments. You ought to at all times go and talk about your signs with a healthcare skilled. Women ought to have a common well being check-up after they attain mid-life.”
The new screening comes as a scarcity of hormone alternative remedy – used to alleviate bodily and psychological menopause signs – grips the UK.
More than a million ladies within the UK are estimated to presently be depending on some kind of hormone alternative remedy by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).
A spokesperson for Superdrug mentioned: “We would welcome a comprehensive perimenopause service being available on the NHS.
“We launched a perimenopause health screen service to help increase accessibility, choice and support for people when it comes to their health. The service checks key hormonal levels and importantly other vital health areas including cardiovascular health, thyroid profile, vitamins and minerals.
“The service gives people the option to get professional advice and consider strategies to manage their symptoms which could significantly improve their quality of life.”