MENOPAUSE: Women Have Not Discussed Risks, Treatment With Doctors
Many California women have not discussed the risks associated with menopause or the available treatments and health promotion strategies with their doctors, according to a study released today. The study of 657 women aged 40-64 found that 47% of the women had not discussed hormone replacement therapy with their doctors, and 42% had not discussed exercise during menopause. Less than half of the women surveyed had talked with their doctor about calcium supplements, nutrition, vitamin supplements or other medications to treat and prevent diseases like osteoporosis and heart disease that are associated with menopause. "Why haven't doctors discussed the full range of menopause-related prevention and treatment options with these women?" asked Karen Bodenhorn, president and CEO of the California Center for Health Improvement, one of the groups that conducted the study. "Clearly, women want to age well. To assist in meeting this goal, new policies --including policies targeting public and medical education and continuing education -- need to be established," she said.
Women often get their health information from the media, the study found. Forty-one percent get information on health care and prevention from magazines, 29% from television, 17% from newspapers and 8% from radio. "This is a significant finding and highlights the critical role the media plays in disseminating health information to women who make the majority of health decisions for themselves and their families," Bodenhorn said. The study also found that OB/GYNs are the health providers that women most commonly turn to for information about menopause, with 42% turning to these doctors; however, 36% turn to general practitioners for this type of information. "Over a third of California women are seeking information about their health risks as aging women from physicians who may lack specific training in that area. With the increasing number of women joining HMOs and other managed care plans, we expect this trend to continue to impact women's health in general," said Bodenhorn. Overall, Hispanic women were twice as likely to see a family doctor rather than an OB/GYN about women's health issues. The statewide survey was conducted for the Foundation for Osteoporosis Research and Education by The Field Institute and the California Center for Health Improvement. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.5% (CCHI release, 5/27).