Personal use of hormone therapy by postmenopausal women doctors and male doctors' wives in Italy after the publication of WHI trial

Nicoletta Biglia, Ester Ujcic, Franziska Kubatzki, Paola Sgandurra, Claudio Robba, Riccardo Ponzone, Piero Sismondi
Maturitas 2006 May 20, 54 (2): 181-92

OBJECTIVE: To describe the prevalence of hormone replacement therapy (HT) use by postmenopausal women doctors and doctors' wives in Italy and to explore the relationship between their personal characteristics and HT use.

DESIGN: A total of 500 women doctors and 500 men doctors answering on behalf of their female partners were interviewed by a specialised company in the first months of 2003. Questions were meant to explore medical, behavioural and professional characteristics, personal use of HT, reasons for or against HT use and side effects of HT. The distribution of doctors' specialisation (general practitioners (GPs), gynaecologists, medical oncologists) in the sample interviewed was the same as that of the Italian medical community.

RESULTS: Overall, 37% of women doctors and 39% of doctors' wives had ever used HT after menopause, of which 64 and 58%, respectively, were current users. The median duration of HT in the past users was 2.7 years for women doctors and 3.7 for doctors' wives. There were wide differences of HT use according to the type of specialisation: gynaecologists were more willing to use HT (56-59%) than GPs (30-31%) or medical oncologists (16-30%). Vasomotor symptoms (68-69%), followed by the prevention of osteoporosis (28-39%), were the main reasons for commencing HT. The main reasons not to take or to stop HT were the absence or resolution of menopausal symptoms. Only 8% of women doctors and 4% doctors' wives stopped HT after the publication of the WHI data.

CONCLUSIONS: In Italy, women doctors/doctors' wives personally use HT much more than postmenopausal general population.

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