Associations between the use of complementary and alternative medications and demographic, health and lifestyle factors in mid-life Australian women
Gollschewski, Sara E., Anderson, Debra J., Skerman, Helen M., & Lyons-Wall, Philippa (2005) Associations between the use of complementary and alternative medications and demographic, health and lifestyle factors in mid-life Australian women. Climacteric: the journal of the International Menopause Society, 8(3), pp. 271-278.
Objective To determine the prevalence and types of complementary and alternative medications (CAMs) used by menopausal women living in South-East Queensland, Australia; and profile the women who are using CAMs through sociodemographic characteristics, self-rated health status, lifestyle and preventative health strategies. Method This study was a secondary data analysis of data collected by postal questionnaire from 886 women aged 48–67 years participating in the Queensland Midlife Women’s Health Study. The outcome measure was CAM use, distinguished by three categories: herbal therapies, phytoestrogens and nutritional intake (supplements and healthy eating).
Results The overall prevalence of CAM use among mid-life Australian women was 82% which included therapeutic techniques (83%), nutritional supplements (66.8%), phytoestrogens (55.8%), herbal therapies (41.3%), Evening Primrose oil (34%) and vitamin E (28.8%). CAM users, when compared to non-users, were more likely to be previous (p50.05) but not current users (p50.05) of hormone therapy (HT), higher educated (p50.05), low to middle income earners (p50.001) and have participated in self-breast examination (p50.01). They were also more likely to report good general health (p50.05) and improved physical functioning without limitations due to health (p50.05). CAM users were less likely to be aged over 55 years (p50.05) and smoke more than 20 cigarettes per day (p50.001).
Conclusions/implications for health research As prevalence of current CAM use in this population group is considerably higher than HT use, health education programs to assist mid-life women to understand the scientific evidence (or lack of it) for their efficacy is recommended.
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