Research Article| Volume 58, ISSUE 3, P241-248, November 20, 2007

Documentation of self-care actions taken for somatic complaints by postmenopausal Malay women living in Kelantan Malaysia

Published:September 20, 2007DOI:



      The aim of this study was to document some of the self-care actions taken by women in Kelantan to manage their somatic symptoms associated with menopause.


      A verified semi-structured questionnaire in the Malay language was administered to 326 naturally menopaused healthy women (mean age of 57.01 ± 6.58 (S.D.) years) residing in Kelantan to determine the prevalence and types of self-care actions taken for their somatic complaints.


      Mean age at menopause was 49.4 ± 3.4 (S.D.) years and 75% of these women were within the first 10 years of menopause. Of the four somatic symptoms, tiredness was the most prevalent followed by reduced level of mental concentration, musculoskeletal aches and pains, and backache. The prevalence of self-care actions was highest for backache (91%) and the lowest for reduced level of concentration (47.7%), and both prevalence and type of self-care action appear to depend upon the area of residence, and the educational level of the subject. Of those who took self-care actions, majority were from urban areas and with a higher educational level. Although HRT was used for all the four complaints, the use of pain relief tablets and traditional body massage was more commonly used for musculoskeletal aches and pains and backache than HRT. There was also a small fraction of women who had used the traditional herbs like ‘akar kayu’ and ‘jamu’ for these two complaints.


      It appears that the self-care actions used by postmenopausal women in Kelantan for their somatic complaints ranged from HRT to a combination of conventional, traditional, and alternative remedies. The fraction of women taking self-care action varied from symptom to symptom and the choice of self-care action also depended upon the education level, socio-economic status and place where the respondents were domiciled. There was a tendency for the more affluent and educated women to use more of the modern practices and slightly less of the traditional remedies whereas the rural women did the opposite. This is the first study of its kind in Kelantan documenting the self-care practices of menopausal women for their somatic complaints. Clearly more studies are needed to document these practices and the effectiveness of these self-care remedies.


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