Postmenopausal women's usage of complementary and alternative medicine and its relationship to sexual function: A cross-sectional study in southeastern Iran

Health Sci Rep. 2023 Aug 1;6(8):e1470. doi: 10.1002/hsr2.1470. eCollection 2023 Aug.


Background and aims: Sexual dysfunction is one of the most common problems in postmenopausal women that affect their lives. Due to the widespread disadvantages and age limit of drug and hormone therapy, the demand for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) methods has increased.

Methods: This was a descriptive-analytical study. A total of 297 postmenopausal women who were referred to health centers in Kerman, southeastern Iran, were selected during the years 2020-2021. The use of CAM and sexual function were examined by Complementary and Alternative Medicine Questionnaire and the Female Sexual Function Index, respectively. Data were collected through a combination of face-to-face and online forms.

Results: More than half of the participants used at least one type of CAM in the preceding year for any general reason. The mean satisfaction score for CAM use was 21.7 ± 5.84; Most reasons of use were for improving quality of life, improving physical function, reducing sleep disorders, improving mood status, reducing vasomotor symptom, and improving sexual function, respectively. Most reasons of use were related to sexual dysfunction. Specifically, the mean score for sexual function was 17.96 ± 7.50 which was lower than the scale's midpoint of 28. According to different subscales of sexual function, 52.9% of participants had good desire, 49.5% good arousal, 34.7% good lubrication, 56.9% good orgasm, and 2% had no pain, and 52.5% were satisfied with their sexual function. There were no significant differences between CAM users and nonusers about sexual functions and all its subscales.

Conclusion: There were no significant differences between CAM users and nonusers about sexual functions and all its domains. Further research in different communities with different health systems is recommended to investigate the relationship between CAM and sexual function among postmenopausal women.

Keywords: alternative medicine; complementary medicine; postmenopause; sexual function.