Irish survey reveals lack of awareness and understanding about menopause and hormonal therapy

A new survey, conducted by VIP Magazine in cooperation with global pharmaceutical company Mylan and coincided with World Menopause Day sought to get a better understanding of women’s views of the menopause and their knowledge about the treatment options available to them.

According to the survey, misconceptions around menopause, its symptoms and options for treatment are still persistent among many women – despite new research and more information being available.

It was promising to see that 51% of women typically speak to a healthcare professional for information on the menopause, however almost half of women surveyed (47%) said that during medical visits they did not feel there was enough information given to them on women’s health issues due to insufficient time spent with their General Practitioner (GP).

With the remaining half of women preferring to discuss this topic with friends and family (19%) or consult the internet (30%) before approaching their GP, there is a need for improved communication so that women do not feel the need to turn to the internet, where often misconceptions can be found. Health professionals can continue to play an important role in supporting their patients.

Of those currently going through the menopause or who are post-menopausal, over 60% of these women said they aren’t using or didn’t use Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – a treatment used to replace the female hormones that a woman’s body is no longer producing because of the menopause – as either their GP did not discuss it with them or because of a misperception linking the treatment to breast cancer. A further 69% of women who identified as non- or peri-menopausal said they were unsure about or wouldn’t consider using HRT as a treatment for symptoms because of negative publicity associating it with cancer.

Commenting on these results, Owen McKeon Country Manager of Mylan in Ireland, who has a strong presence in women’s health, said, “It’s clear from the survey that women feel they need to be better supported, and medical professionals play a key role in providing the latest information, including the range of available treatment options. Health care professionals (HCPs) are in a position to empower women in helping them make their healthcare decisions and if women are more informed, then they are better placed to choose the treatment they feel is best suited to them.”

Dr Deirdre Lundy of Bray Women’s Health Centre and advocate for the use of HRT said: “Every woman experiences the menopause in a different way so there is a need for access to a variety of treatment options. There are many solutions out there which can help ease the symptoms of menopause and women should be encouraged to speak to their healthcare professional about what they’re experiencing. If HCPs can take the time to discuss the options, that are available, and the benefits and risks associated with them, women will be well-informed and can work together with their GP to choose their own individual treatment path”.

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