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Knowledge of and Attitudes Toward Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Among Women Age 40 or Older

Results of Yankelovich/University of Cincinnati Survey

HRT Facts

  • The most commonly prescribed hormones in HRT are estrogen and progesterone/progestin.

  • Progesterone/progestin is prescribed with estrogen to counteract estrogen’s effect on the endometrium and prevent uterine cancer.

  • The progestin in estrogen/progestin therapy frequently causes side effects like mood swings and bloating that make women decide to go off therapy.

  • After menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels in the body drop precipitously.

What Women Don’t Know About Hormones And HRT

  • Two out of three (64%) women surveyed did not know or were not sure what hormones are affected as a woman enters menopause.
  • 68% of all women surveyed did not know estrogen levels are affected.

  • 92% of all women surveyed did not know progesterone levels are affected.

  • While more than half (53%) of women surveyed consider themselves knowledgeable about estrogen, fewer than one in three (30%) consider themselves knowledgeable about progesterone.

  • Half of women surveyed (51%) know that estrogen is one of the hormones commonly prescribed in HRT, but fewer than one in seven (14%) named progesterone as a common HRT component.


What Doctors Say And What Women Take Away

  • 79% of women who consulted a doctor for menopause-related issues said their doctor did a good job explaining HRT.

  • But nearly half (46% of all women surveyed) said they still are not sure which hormones were prescribed in HRT. And two out of three (65%) said they are not knowledgeable about progesterone, a common component of HRT.


What Women Know - And Don’t Know - Affects How They Make HRT Choices

  • Women who consider themselves knowledgeable about estrogen and/or progesterone are much more likely than their uninformed counterparts to have experience with HRT.

  • If entering menopause today, nearly half of women surveyed (41%) would not take hormone replacement therapy, and another one in five (17%) remain undecided.
  • The inclination to use therapy is higher than average among women who feel they are knowledgeable about estrogen/progesterone (54%) and women in their fifties (52%).

  • The top three reasons women say they would take HRT:
  • To alleviate menopausal symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats): 32%

  • To help prevent osteoporosis: 20%

  • For the overall benefits, including health benefits: 11%

  • The top five reasons women would not take HRT if they became menopausal today:
  • Don’t know/not sure: 32%

  • Side effects: 20%

  • It’s not necessary - haven’t needed it: 18%

  • Fear of the risks involved: 11%

  • Unnatural: 10%

  • How do women rank the following considerations when choosing a particular HRT regimen?
  • Recommended by their doctor: 89%

  • Fewer or less severe side effects: 87%

  • Similar to their own body’s hormones: 83%

  • Natural or plant-based: 73%

This survey was conducted by Yankelovich Partners, Inc., between March 24 and April 6, 1998.

Yankelovich Partners interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,009 American women age 40 and older. Interviews were conducted using a Random Digit Dial (RDD) technique to ensure that respondents with both listed and unlisted phone numbers were reached. The margin of error based on the total number of respondents is ± 3.1%.