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T long-term effects of cognitive therapy and behavior therapy (CTBT) for menopausal symptoms are unknown, and whether the effects are different between natural menopause and treatment-induced menopause are currently unclear. Therefore, we sought to conduct an accurate estimate of the efficacy of CTBT for menopausal symptoms.
We conducted searches of Cochrane Library, EMBASE, PsycINFO, PubMed, and Web of Science databases for studies from 1 January 1977 to 1 November 2021. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing intervention groups to control groups for menopausal symptoms were included. Hedge's g was used as the standardized between-group effect size with a random-effects model.
We included 14 RCTs comprising 1618 patients with a mean sample size of 116. CTBT significantly outperformed control groups in terms of reducing hot flushes [g = 0.39, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.23–0.55, I2 = 45], night sweats, depression (g = 0.50, 95% CI 0.34–0.66, I2 = 51), anxiety (g = 0.38, 95% CI 0.23–0.54, I2 = 49), fatigue, and quality of life. Egger's test indicated no publication bias.
CTBT is an effective psychological treatment for menopausal symptoms, with predominantly small to moderate effects. The efficacy is sustained long-term, although it declines somewhat over time. The efficacy was stronger for natural menopause symptoms, such as vasomotor symptoms, than for treatment-induced menopause symptoms. These findings provide support for treatment guidelines recommending CTBT as a treatment option for menopausal symptoms.
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