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Health-care providers’ views of menopause and its management: a qualitative study

Objective

This study aimed to explore Australian health-care providers’ knowledge of menopause and its consequences, and their views about menopause-related health care.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional qualitative study of Australian general practitioners (GPs), gynecologists (GYs) and pharmacists (PHs). Recruitment was ultimately achieved through professional networks and cold calling.

Results

There were equal numbers of GPs, GYs and PHs, and equal numbers of males and females in each group. All participants demonstrated sound understanding of menopause and its consequences. A strong theme was recognition of high usage of complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) by women for menopausal symptoms. Most participants highlighted lack of efficacy evidence for most CAMs, but the majority of GPs and PHs considered CAMs to ‘have a role’. Most supported menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) when symptoms impaired quality of life. Limitations to comprehensive care included knowledge gaps and lack of time.

Conclusions

Australian health-care providers appeared knowledgeable about menopause, but uncertain about its management. MHT prescription appeared limited to women with severe symptoms despite lifestyle modification and a trial of CAMs. The upskilling of clinicians providing care for women at midlife, with respect to the indications for and prescribing of MHT, urgently needs to be addressed.

Reference

Davis SR, Herbert D, Reading M, Bell RJ.Climacteric. Health-care providersviews of menopause and its management: a qualitative study 2021 Dec;24(6):612-617. doi: 10.1080/13697137.2021.1936486. Epub 2021 Jul 9.PMID: 34240683

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