Current patient perceptions on the menopause: A South African perspective
Objective: To evaluate current patient perspectives on the postmenopausal period in South Africa. Methods: The study was conducted in a specialist private practice in Tygerberg, Cape Town, South Africa during 2004. All women with established postmenopausal status, seen over a period of 18 months, received a survey questionnaire by post. Of the 541 questionnaires that were posted, 421 were returned and 410 were used. Women gave written informed consent. Results: The average age of the women was 60 years, with almost half (49%) greater than 10 years postmenopausal, and 78.5% were using hormonal therapy (HT). Of note is that 42% had been on HT for more than 10 years. The doctor was the most important source of information (87%), the most frequent reason for initiation of, and the second most frequent reason for discontinuation of therapy. The most important advantages of HT given were skeletal protection (85%) and treatment of vasomotor symptoms (70%), while development of breast cancer was given as the most prominent disadvantage (79%). Conclusion: This group of women was well informed regarding current indications and developments concerning HT. Despite their socioeconomic status, the doctor remained the key factor with regard to information and decision-making. © 2005 International Menopause Society.