Leitch and colleagues  have recently reported the results of a survey performed in a group of women attending a specialist menopause clinic in Edinburgh. The aims of the study were to establish the current prevalence of skin disorders in a group of peri- and postmenopausal women and to investigate any perceived effects of hormone therapy (HT) on the skin. Women were invited to complete a short anonymous questionnaire. Respondents were asked about their age, the length of time since their last spontaneous menstrual period and whether they were taking HT or other medications. To establish the current prevalence of skin problems, respondents were asked to identify common skin problems that they had had in the past and to give their opinion as to whether these were influenced by the menopause, and whether they had been more or less troublesome, gone away altogether or only started at the time of the menopause. For those taking HT, they were asked if they had noticed any change in their skin problems since starting the therapy and were asked to rate their skin condition using a nine-point matching scale from ‘gone away completely’ to ‘much worse all the time’.
A total of 87 women responded (mean age 52 years, range 32–74 years; mean time from menopause 7.3 years, range 0–39 years). Sixty-two women (71%) were current or past users of HT. Fifty-six women (64%) reported one or more skin problems in the past: in 22 cases, the diagnosis was performed by a skin specialist, in 38 by their GP and in 46 it was self-diagnosed. Nearly half of the responders reported changes in the skin since the menopause, dry skin being the predominant complaint. The remaining half thought that their skin was not affected by menopause. Among those reporting on skin changes, 38% rated their skin problems as being more troublesome since menopause, 20% noted that new skin problems developed since menopause, but 18% felt their skin problems were resolved completely. Among the women taking HT, only 30% perceived a change in their skin related to treatment. Just over half of the respondents who rated their skin condition on a nine-statement scale thought their condition worsened, while the remaining women described their skin problems as better.
Climacteric Unit, Hospital de Clinicas, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
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