Introduction: Menopause is a critical period for most women who experience associated symptoms while they are still socially and individually active. Objectives: The objective of this study is to report how Italian women perceive and approach menopause. Materials and methods: A survey of 1028 Italian women aged 45–65 years was conducted by the Italian Center for Studies of Social Investments (CENSIS) through anonymous interviews using two methods: CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) and CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing). Principal outcome measures: Principal outcome measures were women's perceptions and experiences of menopause and its treatments. Results: The global consciousness and understanding of menopause was common (82.8 %) among Italian women and it was usually considered a physiological condition (77 %). Overall, 74.6 % of the sample were postmenopausal. Hot flushes were reported to be the most frequent (37.9 %) and bothersome symptoms (43.1 %) while 12.9 % of the women were asymptomatic. As for menopausal therapies, 24.5 % were on treatment; herbal medications were the most common remedy (63.3 %) whereas 7.6 % of the women took hormone replacement therapy (HRT). About half of the sample (50.4 %) had not sought help from the Italian National Health System (INHS). Medical expertise in the field of menopause was thought to be moderately satisfactory by 54.5 % of the sample. Conclusions: Italian women consider menopause a physiological condition. Most postmenopausal women had experienced symptoms but relied on non-hormonal treatments. The median women's satisfaction with the role of the INHS and medical competence suggests the need to improve current knowledge and awareness concerning menopause.
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