Article open access publication

Prevalence and predictors of complementary and alternative medicine/non-pharmacological interventions use for menopausal symptoms within the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening

Climacteric, Taylor & Francis, ISSN 1473-0804

Volume 20, 3, 2017

DOI:10.1080/13697137.2017.1301919, Dimensions: pub.1084165295, PMC: PMC5448394, PMID: 28326899,



  1. (1) University College London, grid.83440.3b
  2. (2) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
  3. (3) UNSW Sydney, grid.1005.4
  4. (4) University of Manchester, grid.5379.8
  5. (5) King's College London, grid.13097.3c


OBJECTIVES: The negative publicity about menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) has led to increased use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) and non-pharmacological interventions (NPI) for menopausal symptom relief. We report on the prevalence and predictors of CAM/NPI among UK postmenopausal women. METHOD: Postmenopausal women aged 50-74 years were invited to participate in the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS). A total of 202 638 women were recruited and completed a baseline questionnaire. Of these, 136 020 were sent a postal follow-up-questionnaire between September 2006 and May 2009 which included ever-use of CAM/NPI for menopausal symptom relief. Both questionnaires included MHT use. RESULTS: A total of 88 430 (65.0%) women returned a completed follow-up-questionnaire; 22 206 (25.1%) reported ever-use of one or more CAM/NPI. Highest use was reported for herbal therapies (43.8%; 9725/22 206), vitamins (42.6%; 9458/22 206), lifestyle approaches (32.1%; 7137/22 206) and phytoestrogens (21.6%; 4802/22 206). Older women reported less ever-use of herbal therapies, vitamins and phytoestrogens. Lifestyle approaches, aromatherapy/reflexology/acupuncture and homeopathy were similar across age groups. Higher education, Black ethnicity, MHT or previous oral contraceptive pill use were associated with higher CAM/NPI use. Women assessed as being less hopeful about their future were less likely to use CAM/NPI. CONCLUSION: One in four postmenopausal women reported ever-use of CAM therapies/NPI for menopausal symptom relief, with lower use reported by older women. Higher levels of education and previous MHT use were positive predictors of CAM/NPI use. UKCTOCS Trial registration: ISRCTN22488978.


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