Efficacy of the Complementary and Alternative Therapies for the Management of Psychological Symptoms of Menopause: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

J Menopausal Med. 2021 Dec;27(3):115-131. doi: 10.6118/jmm.21022.


Menopause is not a high-risk period for psychiatric illness but can cause psychological issues; the most common of which are anxiety and depression, which can impair coping and reduce women's quality of life. Thus, many women have leaned toward complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for the relief of menopause-related symptoms. No rigorous study exists in the literature on the effects of CAMs on the psychological symptoms of menopause despite this growing patient interest. This systematic review aimed to assess the efficacy of CAM interventions on psychological symptoms of menopause. Databases (PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar) were searched from January 2000 to May 2021 using the keywords: menopause, menopausal symptoms, psychological symptoms, and complementary and alternative medicine. The quality of the included studies was assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT) for randomized clinical trials. Of the 704 articles found, 33 articles with 3,092 participants entered the final review. Aromatherapy, massage, yoga, and acupuncture, as well as some dietary and herbal supplements improved psychological symptoms during menopause based on the findings of the current study. However, the effectiveness of reflexology and exercise was debatable. However, necessary precautions should be taken when using them in clinical settings despite the positive effect of various CAM interventions on reducing psychological symptoms. More studies with a higher methodology quality are required to make better decisions about the effect of various CAM interventions on the psychological symptoms of menopause.

Keywords: Alternative medicine; Complementary medicine; Menopause; Psychology; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review