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BACKGROUND: Hormone replacement therapy is now thought to have serious adverse effects; consequently, many menopausal women are seeking to use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), including non-pharmacological interventions (NPI), to alleviate symptoms. The prevalence and perceived effectiveness of CAM and NPI for ameliorating menopausal symptoms are not widely known and factors likely to predict CAM and NPI utilization for menopausal symptom management have not been comprehensively documented. OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were to (1) determine the prevalence of using CAM and NPI for menopausal symptoms; (2) describe the perceived effectiveness of CAM and NPI for symptom management; and (3) investigate lifestyle and demographic factors associated with CAM/NPI use among menopausal women with vasomotor symptoms. METHODS: Women aged 46-55 years were recruited via six socioeconomically diverse general practices. Participants completed a postal questionnaire that contained items relating to demographics, lifestyle factors, weight, height, exercise behavior, menopausal status, vasomotor symptoms and utilization and perceived effectiveness of a range of CAM/NPI for symptom management. RESULTS: Of 1,206 women who responded, 563 (47%) were symptomatic. The most commonly used CAM/NPI for symptom management were diet/nutrition (44.3%), exercise/yoga (41.5%), relaxation/stress management (27.4%) and homeopathic/naturopathic remedies (25.4%). Of women who used these interventions, large proportions reported them to be helpful. The characteristics that were independently associated with use of CAM/NPI were White ethnicity, being physically active, and not smoking. CONCLUSIONS: Many menopausal symptomatic women are using a wide range of CAM/NPI and report these to be effective, particularly those who are white, physically active and do not smoke.

Original publication

DOI

10.1080/13697130600864074

Type

Journal article

Journal

Climacteric

Publication Date

10/2006

Volume

9

Pages

336 - 346

Keywords

Alcohol Drinking, Complementary Therapies, Diet, Estrogen Replacement Therapy, European Continental Ancestry Group, Exercise, Female, Humans, Life Style, Menopause, Middle Aged, Nutritional Physiological Phenomena, Smoking, Socioeconomic Factors, Surveys and Questionnaires, Treatment Outcome