In early February, women in the UK began to struggle to access contraception, both contraceptive pills and hormone replacement therapy, due to manufacturing and supply issues. Health Bodies says this issue could result in a rise in unplanned pregnancy and or abortion.
Though the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have said that the Hormone Replacement Therapy supply issues should improve, many contraceptives will continue to remain unavailable with no prediction on when the issue will be resolved.
In a Huffington Post UK article, women have been recorded saying it takes them up to 12 years to find a preferred birth control method that does not leave them with crippling side effects. The lack of options leaves women either selecting options that compromise their well-being, or nothing at all.
There have been additional concerns that this lack of resources will affect the poorer, more disadvantaged members of society as well.
A Department of Health and Social care representative said the following are impacted by the shortage:
- Synphase (birth control pill)
- Noriday (birth control pill)
- Normin (birth control pill)
- Sayana Press (self-injection)
Though some of the manufacturers have said the supply shortage will lift in early March, others do not yet have a concrete timeline for when they will have proper supply again. Additionally, an alternative for the Sayana Press self-injection does not exist, so women will have to see a healthcare provider to access another method of contraceptive, a burden for both users and healthcare clinics.
Doctors have called on the government to set up a group to investigate the continuing shortages of hormonal treatment and contraceptives, as these medications aid both in preventing pregnancy and the symptoms of other women’s health issues such as PCOS, menopause, and endometriosis.
The shortages seem to be unique to the UK, and authorities have yet to pinpoint the exact reasoning behind them. The shortages are leading to chaos in pharmacies. Healthcare providers and professionals are continuing to look to the government for some sort of answer.
Women can become fertile within seven days of not taking their preferred method of birth control. Interrupting or stopping their pill or injection due to shortages will cause confusion for women’s bodies and their sexual practices.
Without reliable access to contraception, it is almost meaningless to be taking birth control in the first place, as contraceptives only work if they are taken and administered reliably.
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