Background: This study was undertaken to determine women’s knowledge of menopause and its consequences, and their menopause-related health-care experiences. Methods: Participants were recruited to this cross-sectional qualitative study from a nationally, representative sample of Australian women. Recruitment was stratified by age to achieve groups of premenopausal (PRE), perimenopausal (PERI), early postmenopausal (E-POST), and late postmenopausal (L-POST) women. Results: The 32 participants were aged 46–69 years: 10 PRE, three PERI, 11 E-POST and eight L-POST women. All understood that menopause meant the end of reproductive function and were aware of menopause-associated symptoms. Most PRE and E-POST women referred to lifestyle changes to optimize health, and self-help and complementary therapies to manage symptoms. E-POST and L-POST women were more likely to nominate seeing a doctor for overall health and symptom management. Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) was viewed negatively, with shared perceptions of cancer risk and over-prescription. A strong theme was lack of knowledge of long-term menopause sequelae, with only four women nominating osteoporosis. Conclusions: Our in-depth qualitative study would suggest that, while Australian midlife women have a good understanding of the immediate effects of menopause, their lack of knowledge of the long-term consequences is concerning. Despite the effectiveness and safety of MHT, the overall attitude to MHT remains negative.
- knowledge of menopause
- menopausal hormone therapy