An exploration of women's current hormone discontinuation experiences, influences, decisions, and alternatives
Findings released from recent pivotal clinical trials on hormone therapy (HT) benefits and risks have stimulated a growing trend towards lower doses and earlier discontinuation of HT for menopausal women. Yet, there is little knowledge regarding women's personal experiences with the resultant earlier and possibly abrupt withdrawal of HT. The purpose of this study was to explore postmenopausal women's vasomotor symptom experiences after discontinuing HT. The data for this study was collected from menopausal women who discontinued HT. The study questionnaire was created through an extensive review of the literature as well as an expert panel review. The questionnaire was also piloted with a small group of women prior to its use in this study. Data analysis consisted of descriptive analysis with means and standard deviations and/or frequency distributions with percentages for demographic data, health behaviors, factors influencing HT decisions, use of CAM and perceived efficacy. Chi-square analysis, Spearman Rho correlation, and logistic regression analysis were conducted for contextual factors and vasomotor symptom experiences. A McNemar test was performed to assess within group differences for vasomotor symptoms experiences pre and post HT. Questionnaires were received from 563 menopausal women throughout the United States. This study revealed that 80% of participants experienced vasomotor symptoms after discontinuing HT. The most common predictors which accounted for only 13% of variance in the occurrence of vasomotor symptoms were younger age, type of menopause and the occurrence of vasomotor symptoms prior to initiation of HT. Of the 563 women participating in the study, less than half reported the use of CAM to treat reemerging vasomotor symptoms. For the most part, less than half of the women felt their treatment choices were helpful in relieving their reemerging vasomotor symptoms Because a woman's experience of menopause can be highly individualized, an adaptation of Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory was used guide this exploratory study. The study findings supported the usefulness of the adaptation of Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory as a model through which to view the vasomotor experiences of menopausal women who have discontinued HT.