Aims: This study explores the beliefs and practices of family medicine physicians regarding the use of nonconventional modalities for menopausal symptom management. Methods: Anonymous self-administered questionnaires were distributed to faculty and residents from eight participating family medicine residency programs around Florida, with an overall response rate of 66% (212 respondents). The survey explored what physicians report about patterns of patient inquiries and their responses to patients' inquiries about nonconventional modalities for specific menopausal symptoms and what physicians' report on their advice to patients about using specific herbs and supplements for menopausal symptom relief. Results: Behavioral approaches were encouraged more than herbal therapies, acupuncture, and body therapies for the treatment of most of the menopausal symptoms. However, the most frequent response category was No advice. Resident physicians were significantly more likely than faculty to encourage acupuncture. Faculty physicians were more likely than residents to recommend particular herbal remedies. The majority of the respondents believed there was not sufficient evidence for recommending any of the herbs and supplements listed. Conclusions: These data reveal some important trends about how family medicine physicians respond to nontraditional approaches for menopausal symptom management. Because family medicine physicians typically receive some training in behavioral and psychotherapeutic approaches and there is some evidence for the effectiveness of behavioral strategies in menopausal symptom management, it is not surprising that they are more likely to endorse these approaches. Most family medicine physicians, however, have little or no training in the other nonconventional modalities, and our data show that these modalities received lower levels of endorsement, suggesting that physicians are not clear on their advantages or disadvantages.
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