This study aims to determine associations between consultations with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners/use of self-prescribed CAM and menopause-related symptoms.
Data were obtained from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. Generalized estimating equations were used to conduct longitudinal data analyses, which were restricted to women born in 1946-1951 who were surveyed in 2007 (survey 5; n = 10,638) and 2010 (survey 6; n = 10,011).
Women with menopause-related symptoms were more likely to use self-prescribed CAM but were not more likely to consult a CAM practitioner. Overall, CAM use was lower among women who had undergone hysterectomy or women who had undergone oophorectomy, compared with naturally postmenopausal women, and decreased with increasing age of postmenopausal women. Weak associations between CAM use and hot flashes were observed. Women experiencing hot flashes were more likely to consult a massage therapist (odds ratio, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.00-1.20) and/or use self-prescribed herbal medicines (odds ratio, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.03-1.23) than women not experiencing hot flashes.
Consultations with CAM practitioners and use of self-prescribed CAM among naturally or surgically postmenopausal women are associated with menopause-related symptoms. Our study findings should prompt healthcare providers, in particular family medicine practitioners, to be cognizant of clinical evidence for CAM typically used for the management of common menopause-related symptoms in their aim to provide safe, effective, and coordinated care for women.