Communication is lacking around hormone-free solutions for menopausal symptoms, Equelle survey finds
22 Sep 2021 --- Non-hormonal menopause supplements provider Equelle – part of Pharmavite – is spotlighting the “significant” lack of communication between women and their health care providers (HCPs) about menopause. It commissioned a survey aiming to help HCPs and women have more open dialogue on menopause and non-hormonal options for symptom relief.
“Researchers found that although HCPs are interested in discussing menopause and women have a strong openness to discuss hormone-free options, a large communication gap still exists. Sixty-nine percent of women say they prefer to take natural supplements, yet 25% of women say that their HCPs downplay the role of supplements to address the symptoms of menopause,” Julie Young, general manager at Equelle, tells NutritionInsight.
“Equelle wants to raise awareness of these statistics to help encourage open and honest conversations between women and their HCPs,” “We hope that by uncovering these communication gaps, we are empowering both patients and HCPs to have more open and honest discussions about menopause and its impacts.”
The survey further revealed that one in three women and HCPs alike do not have the knowledge on available non-prescription options to relieve menopause symptoms.
Taking a closer look at health providers’ lack of knowledge for non-prescription medication, NutritionInsight previously reported the need for healthcare students to learn more about nutrition’s role in a patient’s overall health.
Equelle is a non-prescription, hormone-free dietary supplement manufactured by Pharmavite. The active ingredient within the supplement is S-equol, a plant-based compound. This compound mimics the benefits of estrogen to provide menopause symptom relief, including hot flashes, quality of sleep, mood swings and vaginal irritation, soreness and itching.
In other non-hormone menopause solutions, Pharmavite’s saffron extract was found to reduce psychological menopause symptoms in a study.
“Studies of postmenopausal women showed that women who can naturally produce S-equol after consuming soy had milder menopause symptoms than those who were not able to naturally produce it,” explains Young.
In a clinical study, participants taking Equelle experienced fewer hot flashes starting as early as week four, with about five fewer hot flashes per day at week eight, comments Young.
“After 12 weeks of taking Equelle, participants slept 50 minutes more on average per night compared to 16 minutes more with placebo,” she adds.
Women and health care providers’ concerns
The survey found that topics surrounding menopause symptom relief and non-prescription options were not discussed enough. Among those surveyed, 60% of women stated they are somewhat likely to consider switching doctors if they are not satisfied with the information they are receiving about menopause.
The survey findings reveal that women want to turn to their HCPs to learn more about how to address their menopause symptoms; however, nearly 50% of patients feel they are not having enough conversations about menopause with their HCPs.
Meanwhile, 42% of HCPs say they are challenged or concerned about having conversations with their patients about menopause.
“It’s not that all HCPs lack knowledge of non-prescription options to address the symptoms of menopause, but rather, many wait until their patient brings it up before making a recommendation – 86% of HCPs indicated that they are interested to hear from the patient about what non-prescription supplements they’d be interested in trying,” explains Young.
“Furthermore, the research also revealed that two-thirds of HCPs turn to clinical data when deciding to recommend a non-prescription supplement to treat symptoms of menopause, which can be lacking.”
Equelle conducted the online US survey on 2,502 women aged between 45 to 64 years old. These women were perimenopausal or experiencing menopause at that time. Also included in the survey were 989 healthcare providers who treat patients with menopause, including obstetrician-gynecologists (OB/GYNs), primary care physicians and nurse practitioners.
Discussions around menopause
Beginning this month, Equelle will launch a series of programs for both HCPs and their patients in the coming months to further raise awareness around these findings.
On World Menopause Day, October 18, Equelle will host a roundtable discussion on the physician-focused channel, Sermo.
On Sermo, health care professionals will be encouraged to share their feedback regarding the survey findings and share their attitudes and approaches to menopause symptom relief and patient care with their peers.
In addition, Equelle is launching an Instagram live series in the fall to engage consumers in open conversations with various menopause experts. The topics will range from how menopause impacts women in the workplace to personal experiences and guidance on addressing menopause symptoms.
By Nicole Kerr
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