Objective: This work aims to study the use of hormone therapy (HT) in a representative cohort of Norwegian women during the menopausal transition, to identify predictors of HT use, and to describe the reappearance of symptoms in former HT users.
Methods: In 1997, 2,229 women in Hordaland County, aged 40 to 44 years, were selected randomly from a national health survey and followed up with seven postal questionnaires in 1999-2010. Data from 2,002 women (90%) were eligible for analysis. Summary statistics and multiple logistic regression analysis were used. We studied the reappearance of symptoms after HT discontinuation using a subcohort based on their propensity scores for HT use.
Results: The 2-year incidence of new HT users dropped from 8.2% (95% CI, 7.0-9.5) in 2002 to 4.3% (95% CI, 3.4-5.2) in 2004 and remained stable despite an increasing prevalence of symptoms in the cohort. Self-rated health was stable during the period. The mean duration of HT use was 4.5 years (95% CI, 4.0-5.0). The odds of HT use were higher among women with daily hot flushes than among those who never or rarely experienced them (odds ratio, 3.2; 95% CI, 2.3-4.4). After HT cessation, hot flushes returned and corresponded to those in untreated controls.
Conclusions: The 2-year incidence of HT users decreased almost 50% after 2002. Increasing symptoms and decreasing incidence of HT use did not influence self-rated health. Hot flushes were the strongest predictor of HT use. Symptoms reappeared in most women after HT cessation.