Endocrine Abstracts (2002) 3 P214

Awareness of Libyan women of the menopause and their attitudes to hormone replacement therapy

SA Beshyah1, NA Bay2 & IH Sherif2

1Diabetes and Endocrine Unit, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, UK; 2Diabetes and Endocrine Unit, Tripoli Medical Centre, Tripoli, Libya.

BACKGROUND: There are wide ethnic differences in women's attitude to the menopause and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). We have surveyed the awareness and attitudes of Libyan women to the menopause and HRT. METHODS: An anonymous self-administered questionnaire on the knowledge and attitudes towards menopause and HRT was used. 353 women were studied (median age 31(20-60) years; 188 married, 157 single and 8 divorced/widowed). Majority had secondary (38%) or university (51%) education. RESULTS: Information on the subject came from magazines (68%), Radio & TV (63%), from relatives & friends (58%) and from doctors and nurses (35%). The normal age of the menopause was thought to be 50 years by 57%; 40 years by 29%, 60 years by 8% and 30 years by 3%. Symptoms identified as menopausal included hot flushes (67%), disturbed sleep (73%), urinary incontinence (30%), nervousness and anxiety (83%), dry skin (61%), dyspareunia (44%), genital infections (55%), hair loss (61%). Postmenopausal osteoporosis was recognised by 69% and increased cardiovascular risk by 45%. 87% of the women felt that menopause is an unavoidable stage of life, 88% that its psychological effects are natural and 33% that its symptoms are not treatable. Many women thought that HRT has greater risk than benefit (66%), prevents hot flushes (38%), always causes return of menstrual bleeding (30%), increases risk of breast and uterine cancer (41%), lowers risk of cardiovascular disease (36%) and decreases risk of osteoporosis (50%), However, it was thought that for HRT to be useful it must be taken life long (43%). CONCLUSIONS: There is a low level of awareness of Libyan women of the effects of the menopause associated with a low rate of current use and intended future use of hormone replacement therapy.

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