Benidorm's Julie Graham: I tried to be 54-year-old man to get help for the menopause

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Julie Graham during a photocall for ITV show 'Benidorm ' which is celebrating it's 10th anniversary at The Curzon Mayfair on January 29, 2018 in London, England.
Julie Graham during a photocall for ITV show 'Benidorm' celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018 in London, England.

Benidorm and Shetland star Julie Graham has revealed she tried to fake being a man online in order to get hold of testosterone that would help her through the menopause.

The Scottish actor and writer, who has spoken about her experience of going through the menopause before, said there is such a thing as "menopause poverty" because many women in England cannot afford the cost of hormone therapies to help with changes to their bodies.

Graham was speaking on a live recording of the White Wine Question Time podcast with the cast of Dun Breedin, the lockdown comedy smash hit that she wrote and starred Tamzin Outhwaite, Angela Griffin, Denise Welch, Alison Newman and Tracy-Ann Oberman.

WATCH: Julie Graham on why sexy, menopausal women were integral to her #AtHome drama, Dun Breedin

She told Kate Thornton she had gone online and pretended to be a 54-year-old man to get testosterone, but in the end failed because she had to provide a blood test.

She said: "I was nearly there, I was like: 'I've so fooled them!' and it said 'we can't prescribe this to you because we need a blood test.' I literally nearly went up and jabbed [her partner] Davey and just got a bit of blood out of him!

"Actually Brighton are brilliant, I went to a GP in Brighton [but] it depends. It's a postcode lottery, but they're all over it. They're brilliant and they prescribed me the male testosterone because that's the one that I needed rather [than the] female one which is slightly less potent."

Listen to the full episode to hear Kate Thornton talk to the Dun Breedin cast about filming in lockdown, celebrating female friendships and the best thing they've said 'yes' to!

She also had a message for people in the audience who needed help.

She said: "I'm just saying right now if you are struggling and you want it on the NHS, just don't take no for an answer because they have to prescribe it to you. If they don't, phone me and I'll get them to prescribe it to you!"

The NHS says testosterone is not currently licensed for use in women, but it can be prescribed after the menopause by a specialist doctor.

Last month, the Government announcement that the cost of repeat prescriptions for HRT for those experiencing symptoms of the menopause in England will be significantly reduced.

It came following a campaign to break the taboo around the issue led by Labour MP Carolyn Harris and reduce what Graham described as "menopause poverty".

Treatment is free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but not in England.

Read more: Six sneaky signs of menopause you may not know about

Graham said: "It should be free in England as well. There's such a thing as period poverty. Well, there is such a thing as menopause poverty as well. 

"A lot of women cannot afford to pay that every three months, it's expensive. So it should be free. We all go through it. 

"I just think it's a really it's a misogynistic law, because it's half the population and it should be free. Testosterone, the hormone that men have on the NHS, is free to men but not to us."

WATCH: Denise Welch met her younger second husband while crashing Tinie Tempah's birthday party

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