PETALING JAYA, June 29 — A vest designed to simulate menopause hot flushes left several male British MPs sweating as they got a first-hand taste of menopause symptoms.
"Imagine making a speech in the House of Commons and suddenly getting a hot flush,” former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith told The Guardian.
"If (men) had this, we’d be complaining a lot.”
Labour MP Stephen Kinnock reportedly described the experience as "a very intense kind of heat and an internal feeling, not like being warmed by the sun, but almost volcanic inside”.
The men were among the politicians donning the vests yesterday, as part of a campaign to highlight the UK’s current shortage of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) products.
MP Carolyn Harris, who organised the event, said the vests were an opportunity for her male colleagues to "step into the shoes of what 51 per cent of the population will go through”.
The vest (dubbed MenoVest) was developed by Over The Bloody Moon, an organisation that provides advice and counselling on menopause, and funded by HRT manufacturer Theramex.
Over the Bloody Moon founder Lesley Salem told The Guardian that hot flashes were among the top three symptoms that disrupted menopausal women’s lives.
"For those who haven’t experienced the feeling, it is easy to underestimate its intensity and fail to appreciate just what an impact it has on daily life,” she said.
HRT involves boosting hormones, particularly estrogen, to relieve symptoms of menopause.
According to the Ministry of Health’s MyHealth, the decreasing levels of oestrogen during menopause can cause symptoms such as joint paint, muscle aches, insomnia, memory loss, vaginal dryness - and hot flushes.
BBC reported that the current shortage of HRT products in the UK is partly due to increasing demand, following greater awareness over the treatments available to ease menopause symptoms.
This has resulted in some women ‘’rationing” their HRT to make their existing supplies last, or even resorting to the black market.