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Maturitas. 2000 Jun 30;35(3):215-28.

Use of hormone replacement therapy: women's representations of menopause and beauty care practices.

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INSERM U 149, Unité De Recherches Epidemiologiques Santé des Femmes en sauté perinatale-16, Av P Vaillant Couturier 94 807, Cedex, Villejuif, France.



Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during menopause has been shown to have beneficial effects on women's health, including preventing osteoporosis and probably reducing cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. However, these effects appear only after long use. Knowledge of factors influencing HRT use is a prerequisite for developing and assessing preventive actions. Most studies of user characteristics have focused on medical knowledge and socioeconomic characteristics, although social and cultural models of menopause may also play a role. Therefore, our study of the determinants of HRT use focused on representations of menopause and on beauty care.


Two scores, one concerning the level of beauty care and the other the representations of menopause, were calculated. In our population of 561 postmenopausal women from the GAZEL cohort in France, 409 (72.9%) had been using HRT for more than one year, and 152 (27.1%) had used it for less than three months, if ever. Associations between the study variables and HRT use were then analysed.


No association was found between representations of menopause and HRT use. Beauty care and some beliefs about HRT (i. e. that it is useful for osteoporosis prevention, causes resumption of menstruation, and has anti-aging effects) were independently associated with HRT use. Moreover, the proportion of HRT users increased with socioeconomic status, with vasomotor symptoms in early menopause, and among hysterectomised women.


The results suggest that the amount of attention women pay to beauty care plays a role, in determining HRT use.

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