Women's knowledge, attitudes, and management of the menopausal transition
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Introduction: Hormone therapy (HT) has been considered as a safe treatment for menopausal symptoms. Use of HT increased dramatically in the 1980s and 1990s. Results from large randomized clinical trials (RCT) could, around the turn of the century, however not find evidence for long-term benefits with HT. These results attracted great attention from media and the scientific community leading to changed treatment guidelines and decreased use of HT.
Aim: The overall aim of this thesis was to explore Swedish women’s conceptions, knowledge, management, and attitudes regarding the menopausal transition and HT.
Material and methods: To explore and describe women’s conceptions of the menopausal transition women seeking medical advice due to climacteric symptoms were interviewed (n=20) and their statements were analyzed with a qualitative method (paper I). In 1999 (n=1760) and 2003 (n=1733) attitudes to (paper II) and knowledge of (paper III) the menopausal transition and HT among 53- and 54 year old women were investigated with a cross-sectional design using postal questionnaires. We also analyzed if attitudes differed before and after new scientific findings were published on risks and benefits of HT and if knowledge differed between educational levels. Since many women try to abandon use of HT a RCT was performed to study the effect of two different methods to discontinue HT, on recurrence of hot flushes, resumption of HT and on health related quality of life (HRQoL). Women (n=87) with vasomotor symptoms before initiating HT participated.
Results: We found that the majority of the middle aged women in our study viewed the menopausal transition as a natural process the nature of which is affected by both hormonal changes and by ageing. Each woman seems to experience a set of psychological and physical symptoms that are in some sense unique to her experience. Women’s answers to the questions about HT demonstrate that attitudes towards HT held by women going through menopause have changed rather dramatically between 1999 and 2003. These changes probably reflect the influence on the women of media reports based on research that identified risks associated with HT that had not been identified before 1998.
Women’s knowledge of the effects of HT seems to be unsatisfactory from a clinical perspective. No differences in hot flush frequency and resumption of HT were found between the women randomized to two different modes of discontinuation of HT. Almost 50 % of the women restarted HT within one year after discontinuation. Deteriorated wellbeing and severity of hot flushes were important predicting factors for resumption of HT.
Conclusion: It is important to be aware of the individual woman’s conceptions and attitudes about and knowledge of the menopausal transition and HT to be able to individualize the counselling situation. Women who initiate HT due to hot flushes may experience recurrence of vasomotor symptoms and deteriorated HRQoL after discontinuation. A great proportion of them may resume HT. At present knowledge of possible advantages for the taper-down method when discontinuing HT is still lacking.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2009. , 67 p.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1153
Menopause, hormone therapy, knowledge, attitudes, conceptions, management/treatment, climacteric symptoms, hot flushes
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-21896ISBN: 978-91-7393-531-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-21896DiVA: diva2:241966
2009-10-30, Aulan, Hälsans Hus, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 09:00 (Swedish)
Collins, Aila, Docent
Hammar, Mats, ProfessorKjellgren, Karin, Docent
List of papers