Medically reviewed by Dr. Kimberly Langdon Cull, M.D. on July 25, 2023
The vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause tend to affect women’s quality of life, sleep, and mood. Poor symptom control, treatment dissatisfaction, and negative perceptions of hormone therapy necessitate the implementation of improved management measures.
A substantial percentage of postmenopausal and perimenopausal women experience moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms (VMS), which may affect their social functioning, sleep, concentration, sexual activity, mood, work, and energy. While there are several treatment modalities for the management of VMS, many women experiencing bothersome VMS either use non-prescription treatments or remain untreated.
This study investigated the impact, patients’ and physicians’ perspectives, and treatment patterns for VMS associated with menopause. The findings, published in the journal Maturitas, show that VMS have a negative impact on the quality of life (QoL) of menopausal women. While physicians have a positive perception of hormone therapy for the management of VMS, patients have negative views of this treatment. The management of VMS and improvement in QoL can be achieved through the administration of effective treatment options.
The study included 233 physicians, who provided data about 1816 patients. The mean age of the patients was 53.9 years. Compared to primary care providers (PCPs), gynecologists (GYNs) treated a greater number of patients with VMS between the ages of 40 and 65.
Vasomotor Symptom Impact on Menopausal Women
Based on the findings, VMS had a significant impact on sleep, QoL, work/study, and mood in menopausal women. Compared to mild VMS, women experiencing moderate to severe VMS reported a greater effect of VMS on self-confidence, concentration, enjoyment in life, sleep, mood, social and leisure activities, QoL, work/study, sexual intimacy, and relationships. The highest menopause-specific quality of life (MENQOL) score was observed in the vasomotor domain of symptoms.
Low Medication Use for VMS in Women
In the study population, 27.6% of women had never received a prescribed medication for VMS. The use of hormone therapy was more prevalent in Europe compared to the United States, and a greater number of GYNs prescribed hormone therapy to patients experiencing VMS; however, patients were averse to the treatment despite being eligible.
Patient Reluctance to Use Hormone Therapy Over Safety Concerns
Approximately 62.7% of the physicians agreed with the reluctance of their patients to use hormone therapy due to safety concerns related to long-term treatment. A less favorable perception of hormone therapy was observed in women who had never received treatment and those who experienced mild VMS.
Satisfaction Related to Vasomotor Symptom Control
Based on the patient survey results, dissatisfaction with VMS control was more common in women experiencing severe VMS compared to women experiencing mild VMS. Less symptom control satisfaction was seen in physicians compared to their patients in all three severity categories.
VMS have a substantial impact on the quality of life of menopausal women. The management of VMS and improvement in quality of life can be achieved through the administration of effective treatment options.
Stute, P., Cano, A., Thurston, R. C., Small, M., Lee, L. E., Scott, M., Siddiqui, E., & Schultz, N. M. (2022). Evaluation of the impact, treatment patterns, and patient and physician perceptions of vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause in Europe and the United States. Maturitas, 164, 38–45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2022.06.008