Menopausal symptoms: mindfulness-based stress reduction boosts mental health

  • Wong C & al.
  • Scientific Reports
  • 26 Apr 2018

  • curated by Elisabeth Aron, MD, MPH, FACOG
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) reduces anxiety and depression in peri- and postmenopausal women despite no reduction in somatic symptoms.

Why this matters

  • Some studies suggest that women's psychological responses to vasomotor and somatic symptoms of menopause may exacerbate physical symptoms.
  • Mindfulness-based therapies have been effective in improving psychological and physical outcomes in a variety of clinical settings.
  • MBSR may help reduce the need for pharmacologic treatment of menopausal symptoms.

Key results

  • A reduction in Greene Climacteric Scale (GCS) score at 6 months after intervention was seen in both groups.
  • Women in the MBSR group had lower GCS scores compared with women in the menopause education control group (mean difference, −3.27 [−5.51 to −1.03; P=.005]).
  • There was a significant reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms in the MBSR group; somatic, urogenital, and vasomotor symptoms were not reduced.

Study design

  • Randomized controlled trial of perimenopausal and menopausal women aged 40-60 years who were recruited through advertisement and emails.
  • Women were randomly assigned to a MBSR program (n=98) vs a menopause education control group (n=99).
  • Primary outcomes included GCS scores 6 months after intervention.
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Limitations

  • Self-selection bias possible.
  • Results may not be generalizable.

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