Behaviours and attitudes influencing treatment decisions for menopausal symptoms in five European countries

Post Reprod Health. 2016 Sep;22(3):112-22. doi: 10.1177/2053369116632439. Epub 2016 Feb 18.


Objective: To assess women's behaviours and attitudes regarding the treatment of menopausal symptoms in five European countries.

Study design: Women aged ≥45 years in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom participated in an internet survey. Completers were those who reported menopausal symptoms and had treated their symptoms. Women were equally stratified by age (45-54 years, 55-64 years, ≥65 years).

Main outcome measures: Behaviours, attitudes, and experiences regarding treatment of menopausal symptoms.

Results: Of 3890 peri- to postmenopausal women screened, 67% experienced symptoms and 54% sought either medical input or some treatment concerning their symptoms. Hot flushes, the most common symptom, decreased with age but remained prevalent after age 64. Roughly 75% of women who sought relief consulted a physician, mostly a gynaecologist or a general practitioner (GP) as in the United Kingdom. The decision to seek treatment was influenced by age, number, and severity of symptoms. Approximately 79% visiting a physician received prescription therapy. Of the women who received non-hormone therapy (HT) treatment instead of HT: patients refused HT (20-44%), physicians did not discuss HT (32-46%), or advised against HT (24-43%). Women in the United Kingdom were most familiar with and favorable to HT. Interest in a new HT (34-50%) was higher than use (19-28%).

Conclusions: Menopausal symptoms are common, persistent, and bothersome, but many fail to seek treatment. Sources and types of treatment vary among age groups and countries. Education regarding women's attitudes toward treatment should be provided to those physicians who treat menopausal symptoms in each country.

Keywords: Attitude; hormone therapy; menopause; survey; vasomotor symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Decision Making*
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy*
  • Europe
  • Female
  • France
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Menopause*
  • Middle Aged
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom