Survey of reproductive health professionals exposes the need for additional education tools on hormone replacement therapy

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) announced today at its 60th Annual Meeting the results of a new survey of reproductive health professionals on the topic of menopause treatment and education.

ASRM conducted an online survey of 556 reproductive health professionals (ASRM members and non-members) from the United States and abroad. The goal of survey was to assess reproductive health professionals interactions with current patients who are experiencing menopausal symptoms; and to evaluate the need for better education on the latest treatment options, common misconceptions and ways to address commonly asked questions.

According to the survey, nearly 100 percent of all reproductive health experts agree that their patients are confused about menopausal treatments and 73 percent say they spend the majority of their time counseling their menopausal patients about the best treatment.

“This survey represents a benchmark of professionals’ attitudes about menopause and available treatment options,” says Robert W. Rebar, MD, executive director of ASRM. “After hearing from our members and our colleagues outside of ASRM, we know that there is a need to better equip reproductive health professionals with the knowledge and tools necessary to answer their patients’ questions and recommend the best possible treatment options.”

With 84 percent of reproductive health professionals stating that they would welcome patient education tools, there is an immediate need for the development of a symptom checklist and a risk/benefit analysis of estrogen hormone therapy (HT).

Highlights from the survey include:

  • Most reproductive health professionals regularly prescribe estrogen hormone therapy (95%), vaginal lubricants (78%) or exercise (77%) for their menopausal patients. The least prescribed treatments include bioidenticals (16%), testosterone cream (22%), soy (32%) and black cohosh (33%)
  • Most reproductive health professionals are asked about hot flashes (96%), menopausal hormone therapy (95%), mood changes (91%), night sweats (90%) and changes in libido (90%)
  • Reproductive health experts ask their patients about hot flashes (96%), osteoporosis (93%) and estrogen therapy (92%)
  • Menopausal hormone therapy with estrogen is the most commonly used treatment (95%) and 86 percent of professionals agree that HT is the one, most effective overall treatment for menopausal symptoms
  • Seventy-three percent of reproductive health professionals agree that they are seeing an increase in the number of patients who are confused about the best way to treat menopausal symptoms
  • Ninety-eight percent of reproductive health professionals diagnose patients’ menopausal conditions by discussing the symptoms present. Other common tactics include bone density tests (86%), or hormone panels (60%).
  • Regarding menopausal treatment options, only a fourth of professionals say patients are asking about bioidenticals
  • Most professionals (45%) do not think that bioidenticals are an effective, viable form of treatment

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