RESEARCH – November 2002

Perceptions of Estonian doctors concerning menopause and division of responsibility in its management


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Purpose: To investigate Estonian physicians’ perceptions of both menopause and treatment of climacteric symptoms, as well as their perceptions of the sufficiency and usefulness of education related to menopause. Method: In 2000, a questionnaire was sent to a random sample of gynaecologists and family physicians (FPs) (n=500, response rate 68%). Results: More than two-thirds of both gynaecologists and FPs said that menopause often requires treatment. They considered the most important treatments to be hormone therapy and physical exercise. Also counselling and discussion as well as reduction of smoking were regarded as very important by most physicians. The responsibility for the treatment of climacteric symptoms was regarded to rest both with gynaecologists and FPs. However, 94% of the FPs answered that they  refer patients with symptoms to some other specialist which most often was a gynaecologist. Knowledge gained during pregraduate or specialist education was considered useful for their current needs by 30% of gynaecologists and 39% of FPs. Nearly all (96%) gynaecologists and 36% of FPs said that they had received enough continuing education on menopausal symptoms. Conclusion: According to most, but not all, Estonian physicians, menopause is a life event which requires treatment. If problems inherent to menopause are to be treated in public health services to a greater extent than previously, many FPs may need more continuing education on the topic.