A shortage of specific types of hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) has left women struggling with untreated symptoms of the menopause. Demand for prescriptions has more than doubled since 2017 - partly because of work by campaigners to extend access - but supply of some products has not kept up.
Yasmin Darling's experience of the menopause was sudden and profound. Two years ago, she had two operations to reduce her risk of inherited cancer which plunged her into an early menopause.
"It's really hard to navigate medical menopause 10 years early," the 45-year-old says.
"When you don't have the product you need, it makes it much more difficult to navigate."
Because of Covid, Yasmin has never been seen by a specialist at a menopause clinic, so she is managing as best she can on her own.
Claire Lopez, 59, spent three weeks trying to obtain her usual HRT patches from different local chemists but they were out of stock. Without them, her body becomes "very stiff", leading to slipped discs and severe back pain.
"I have severe anxiety if I do not have these patches, so the total lack of coordination between GPs and pharmacists was extremely frustrating," Claire says.
In the end, she had to arrange a private prescription through a local clinic, in the Midlands, costing £50.
The government has said it is determined to ensure supplies of HRT can meet high demand.
Minister for Women's Health Maria Caulfield said: "There are over 70 HRT products available in the UK, most of which remain in good supply.
"However, we are aware of some issues with women being unable to access certain products.
"We will be appointing a new HRT-supply chairperson and convening an urgent meeting of suppliers to look at ways we can work together to improve supply."
Source: BBC News, 27 April 2022