Taking control of stress and menopause symptoms
It's another one of those chicken-or-the-egg dilemmas...do bothersome menopause symptoms create stress or does stress bring on menopause symptoms? The correct answer might not matter since a new study suggests that higher mindfulness may lower stress and the impact of menopause-related symptoms such as hot flashes. Study results will be presented during The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in San Diego, October 3-6, 2018.
Mindfulness has been a topic of increased popularity in recent years. Long-practiced in Far Eastern cultures, it has only recently gained attention in the West. The practice of mindfulness, which allows patients to be aware of the present moment, without concern for past or future consequences, calmly accepting their feelings about the present event or person, has been touted by some in the medical field as one of the most important developments in the mental health discipline in the past 20 years.
Thanks to a new study out of the Mayo Clinic, enhancing mindfulness may now be considered a viable treatment option for helping midlife women deal with stress and bothersome menopause-related symptoms. The cross-sectional study of 1,744 women aged 40-65 years showed that higher mindfulness correlated with lower menopause symptom scores, as well as lower stress scores in this population. A correlation was seen between higher menopause symptom scores and higher perceived stress. In women with higher stress, the benefits of mindfulness on menopause symptom scores were even more significant.
"Although more research is needed, this study provides a strong signal for the potential role of mindfulness in improving psychological symptoms, emotional response to menopause symptoms, and stress in women during midlife," says Dr. Richa Sood, lead author of the study from the Mayo Clinic.
"This study provides encouraging results as it demonstrates that women may have a tool to help them control stress and menopause symptoms and improve their overall quality of life," says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director.