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In all fields of medicine, we, the health-care providers, witness a growing number of patients who use all sorts of complementary and traditional medicine (CAM). A new study, which was published in a journal with which most of us are not familiar, compared the results from two surveys done in two geographically and culturally diverse sites (Sydney and Bologna) to examine factors that determine the extent and pattern of CAM use to alleviate menopausal symptoms [1]. Women, aged 45–65 years, who were symptomatic when transitioning through menopause or asymptomatic but taking menopause-specific treatments, were recruited in Sydney ([i]n[/i] = 1296) and Bologna ([i]n[/i] = 1106) to complete the same voluntary, anonymous, and self-administered questionnaire. Demographics of the two cohorts differed significantly. CAM was more popular in Sydney. The most significant determinants of CAM consumption were the use of CAM for other conditions besides menopause and the severity of vasomotor symptoms. Occupational status was a determinant of CAM use amongst Bologna respondents only. In order to relieve symptoms, Australian and Italian women used different CAM modalities whose effectiveness was generally perceived as good. In general, CAM use was popular amongst menopausal women from Sydney and Bologna. Differences in the patterns of CAM use seem to depend on CAM availability and on the educational level and professional status of users. The complex interaction between market, social, and cultural factors of CAM use seems to be more influential on women’s choice of CAM than the available evidence of their effectiveness.


  • Amos Pines
    Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel


  1. van der Sluijs C, Lombardo FL, Lesi G, Bensoussan A, Cardini F. Social and cultural factors affecting complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use during menopause in Sydney and Bologna. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2013;2013:836234
  2. van der Sluijs CP, Bensoussan A, Liyanage L, Shah S. Womens health during mid-life survey: the use of complementary and alternative medicine by symptomatic women transitioning through menopause in Sydney. Menopause 2007;14:397-403
  3. Cardini F, Lesi G, Lombardo F, van der Sluijs C. The use of complementary and alternative medicine by women experiencing menopausal symptoms in Bologna. BMC Womens Health 2010;10:7
  4. Walkom EJ, Loxton D, Robertson J. Costs of medicines and health care: a concern for Australian women across the ages. BMC Health Serv Res 2013;13:484
  5. Xue CCL, Zhang AL, Lin V, Da Costa C, Story DF. Complementary and alternative medicine use in Australia: a national population-based survey. J Altern Complement Med 2007,13:643-50
  6. Gollschewski S, Kitto S, Anderson D, Lyons-Wall P. Womens perceptions and beliefs about the use of complementary and alternative medicines during menopause. Complement Ther Med 2008;16:163-8
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