We wished to determine the expectations of women about the benefits of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and how these expectations may be influenced by cultural factors and previous experience of disease by the patient or in their families.
The attitudes of patients seeking HRT in Belfast, United Kingdom (n = 218) and Portland, USA (n = 100) were compared at their first clinic attendance using a questionnaire. Physical and mental health issues, previous use of HRT and continuance on treatment were compared.
Belfast women were less healthy than their Portland counterparts, with a higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease and psychiatric disorders (p < 0.05). Belfast patients showed a significantly lower continuance with treatment (p < 0.01). Collectively, the patients ranked relief of menopausal symptoms as their main expectation from HRT followed by osteoporosis protection, psychiatric relief and cardioprotection. The Belfast group had higher expectations for the relief of psychological/psychiatric problems (p < 0.01). All women with a family history of cardiac disease or fractures were more concerned for the protective effects of HRT than those women with no relevant family history (p < 0.05). There were cultural difference in expectations from HRT with Belfast women expecting more psychological/psychiatric relief and therefore trying a greater number of preparations.
These findings suggest that menopausal women in both countries are well informed about the potential protective benefits of HRT, and now expect an improvement in the quality of their lives well beyond the relief of menopausal symptoms.
©1998The North American Menopause Society