During menopause women experience vasomotor and psychosexual symptoms that cannot entirely be alleviated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Besides, HRT is contraindicated after breast cancer.
To review the evidence on the effectiveness of psychological interventions in reducing symptoms associated with menopause in natural or treatment‐induced menopausal women.
Medline/Pubmed, PsycINFO, EMBASE and AMED were searched until June 2017.
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) concerning natural or treatment‐induced menopause, investigating mindfulness or (cognitive‐)behaviour‐based therapy were selected. Main outcomes were frequency of hot flushes, hot flush bother experienced, other menopausal symptoms and sexual functioning.
Data collection and analysis
Study selection and data extraction were performed by two independent researchers. A meta‐analysis was performed to calculate the standardised mean difference (SMD).
Twelve RCTs were included. Short‐term (<20 weeks) effects of psychological interventions in comparison to no treatment or control were observed for hot flush bother (SMD −0.63, 95% CI −0.80 to −0.46, P < 0.001, I2 = 0%) and menopausal symptoms (SMD −0.34, 95% CI −0.52 to −0.15, P < 0.001, I2 = 0%). Medium‐term (≥20 weeks) effects were observed for hot flush bother (SMD −0.49, 95% CI −0.80 to −0.19, P = 0.002, I2 = 63%). In the subgroup treatment‐induced menopause, consisting of exclusively breast cancer populations, as well as in the subgroup natural menopause, hot flush bother was reduced by psychological interventions. Too few studies reported on sexual functioning to perform a meta‐analysis.
Psychological interventions reduced hot flush bother in the short and medium‐term and menopausal symptoms in the short‐term. These results are especially relevant for breast cancer survivors in whom HRT is contraindicated. There was a lack of studies reporting on the influence on sexual functioning.