The use of hormone therapy (HT) by menopausal women declined by about two-thirds after the publication of the Women’s Health Initiative Study in 2002. In order to evaluate how the WHI influenced women’s knowledge, attitudes and perceptions towards HT use, as well as to find out their specific concerns and sources of information, Tao and colleagues  reviewed 11 qualitative studies ([i]n[/i] = 566) and 27 quantitative studies ([i]n[/i] = 39,251). Using meta-synthesis methods, they reviewed the qualitative studies and surveys and performed content analysis on the study reports. They pooled the quantitative studies using a random-effects meta-analysis. By applying a meta-synthesis approach, they feel that these findings are broadly applicable across large groups of patients. They report that women are positive about the use of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) for symptom control, prevention of osteoporosis and improved quality of life. Concerns exist about potential harmful effects, particularly cancer risks. Sources of information include health providers, media, and social contacts. Media, as a source of information, is often valued as equivalent to health providers. Women in the developing world have less access to alternative sources of information than women in industrialized countries, a fact that concerns the authors.
Hirslanden Hospital Group, Berne, Switzerland
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