Many women reluctant to use postmenopausal HT
PHILADELPHIA — U.S. women attending a community health fair expressed skepticism about hormone therapy and reported that they preferred to treat hot flashes and other bothersome menopause symptoms with alternative options, according to a study presented at the Annual Meeting of the North American Menopause Society.
Hot flashes and night sweats occur in 75% to 80% of women in the U.S., according to Emily D. Slutsky, MD, of the obstetrics and gynecology department at the University of Toledo, Ohio, and colleagues, and HT is the most effective treatment of these menopause symptoms. However, many physicians and women are hesitant to use HT, as seen by declining prescriptions.
Slutsky and colleagues surveyed 359 women (mean age, 48 years); 75% reported being postmenopausal, and 70.1% said they had ever experienced a hot flash.
Participants reported being significantly more willing to use exercise, diet, herbal supplements, acupuncture and meditation than HT to treat menopause (P < .001).
The participants agreed that hot flashes could be reduced by using HT (P < .05); however, they were significantly less willing to use HT for hot flashes compared with exercise, diet, herbal supplements, acupuncture and medication (P > .15).
No significant differences were found in women’s confidence in HT compared with alternative treatments.
“Our findings suggest that women are less willing to use the most empirically validated treatment for hot flashes than the alternative treatment options mentioned. Also, their confidence in successful treatment outcomes was not greater for HRT than the other treatment options,” the researchers concluded.
“I believe the audience will be surprised to receive scientific evidence of the psychological conflict that patients experience between their rational knowledge and long- accepted perceptions and beliefs. This is true in many fields, but particularly applies to menopause treatment,” Slutsky told Endocrine Today. “I hope this research will introduce new directions for research which will focus on bridging the gap between patients' expectations and management.”
The researchers said perception modification and the formulation of appropriate, theory-based psychological interventions are options for future research. - by Cassie Homer
Slutsky ED, et al. Poster-68. Presented at: Annual Meeting of the North American Menopause Society; Oct. 11-14, 2017; Philadelphia.
Disclosure: Slutsky reports no relevant financial disclosures.