Associations between the use of complementary and alternative medications and demographic, health and lifestyle factors in mid-life Australian women.Climacteric. 2005 Sep; 8(3):271-8.C
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.
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).
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 (p < 0.05) but not current users (p < 0.05) of hormone therapy (HT), higher educated (p < 0.05), low to middle income earners (p < 0.001) and have participated in self-breast examination (p < 0.01). They were also more likely to report good general health (p < 0.05) and improved physical functioning without limitations due to health (p < 0.05). CAM users were less likely to be aged over 55 years (p < 0.05) and smoke more than 20 cigarettes per day (p < 0.001). 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.