Evaluating the Effects of Symptom Monitoring on Menopausal Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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Abstract

Evidence suggests that monitoring and appraising symptoms can result in increased engagement in medical help-seeking, improved patient-doctor communication, and reductions in symptom prevalence and severity. To date, no systematic reviews have investigated whether symptom monitoring could be a useful intervention for menopausal women. This review explored whether symptom monitoring could improve menopausal symptoms and facilitate health-related behaviours. Results suggested that symptom monitoring was related to improvements in menopausal symptoms, patient-doctor communication and medical decision-making, heightened health awareness, and stronger engagement in setting treatment goals. Meta-analyses indicated large effects for the prolonged use of symptom diaries on hot flush frequencies. Between April 2019 and April 2021, PsychInfo, EMBASE, MEDLINE, CINAHL, Cochrane, ProQuest, PsychArticles, Scopus, and Web of Science were searched. Eighteen studies met the eligibility criteria and contributed data from 1,718 participants. Included studies quantitatively or qualitatively measured the impact of symptom monitoring on menopausal populations and symptoms. Research was narratively synthesised using thematic methods, 3 studies were examined via meta-analysis. Key themes suggest that symptom monitoring is related to improvements in menopausal symptoms, improved patient-doctor communication and medical decision-making, increased health awareness, and stronger engagement in goal-setting behaviours. Meta-analysis results indicated large effects for the prolonged use of symptom diaries on hot flush frequency: 0.73 [0.57, 0.90]. This review is limited due to the low number of studies eligible for inclusion, many of which lacked methodological quality. These results indicate that symptom monitoring has potential as an effective health intervention for women with menopausal symptoms. This intervention may be beneficial within healthcare settings, in order to improve patient-doctor relations and adherence to treatment regimes. However, findings are preliminary and quality assessments suggest high risk of bias. Thus, further research is needed to support these promising outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number757706
Number of pages16
JournalFrontiers in Global Women's Health
Volume2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • symptoms monitoring
  • menopause
  • midlife
  • menopausal symptoms
  • MRC framework
  • health behaviour
  • e-health
  • women's health
  • systematic review

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