Background. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) could benefit women who have reached the natural menopause, have had a hysterectomy or have a family history of osteoporosis.
Objective. Our aim was to monitor changes in women's knowledge of, and attitudes towards, HRT since 1991.
Methods. The study was a repeat of a postal survey conducted in 1991 in the Grampian region in the North East of Scotland. Six hundred women, aged 20-69 years, were selected randomly from the eight Local Health Care Co-operatives in Grampian, Scotland. The main outcome measures were women's knowledge of HRT, their attitudes towards it and the percentage of users, past users and never users within the sample.
Results. A 79% response rate was achieved. Overall, 17% of post-menopausal women were current takers (increased from 9% in 1991), 22% were previous takers (increased from 7%) and 61% were never takers (decreased from 84%). This increase in ever use of HRT was more pronounced in the less educated women (increase of 24% since 1991) compared with the more educated (increase of 13%). Almost half (48%) of post-menopausal women had considered taking HRT (25% increase). However, of never users, the majority (86%) had never considered HRT and had not discussed it with a doctor. Attitudes towards the menopause remained positive, although knowledge of the effects of HRT and of risk factors for osteoporosis had decreased. Forty-two per cent of never users would be persuaded to take HRT if they knew it would not cause any problems, and 52% would be persuaded to. take HRT on the recommendation of a doctor.
Conclusions. Since 1991, HRT use increased overall; this increase was greater in the less educated women. However, the majority of post-menopausal women remain never users, and many were unaware of HRT. Conflicting research evidence since 1991 on the risks and benefits of HRT may account for the decrease in the women's knowledge of the effects of HRT.
- hormone replacement therapy
- patient's attitudes
- patient's knowledge
- women's health