Midlife women who practice mindfulness may experience fewer menopause-related symptoms and less stress vs. women who do not practice the technique, according to a study of more than 1,700 women presented at the North American Menopause Society annual meeting.
“Even in midlife women with low stress, mindfulness was associated with lower menopausal symptom burden,” Richa Sood, MD, MS, FACP, NCMP, consultant in the division of general internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, told Endocrine Today. “In women with high stress, the association of mindfulness with symptoms was more robust. The study is unique because the study cohort was not formally trained in mindfulness.”
In a cross-sectional study, Sood and colleagues analyzed data from 1,744 women aged 40 to 65 years who presented to the Women’s Health Clinic at Mayo Clinic from 2015 to 2016 (mean age, 53 years). Women completed the Menopause Rating Scale, which assesses health-related quality of life in menopause, the Perceived Stress Scale-4 and the Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale at the time of their clinical visit. Researchers used correlation coefficients and linear regression analysis to assess pair-wise associations between mindfulness, stress and menopausal symptom burden.
Within the cohort, mean Menopause Rating Scale score was 13.9, mean Perceived Stress Scale-4 score was 5.1 and mean Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale score was 4.4.
Researchers found that each 1-point increase in mindfulness score correlated with a 3.97-point decrease in Menopausal Rating Scale score (P < .001) and a 1.98-point decrease in Perceived Stress Scale-4 score (P < .001).
Additionally, each 1-point increase in the Menopause Rating Scale score correlated with a 0.26-increase in the Perceived Stress Scale-4 scores (P < .001).
The correlation between higher mindfulness scores and reduced Perceived Stress Scale-4 scores was more robust in women with higher menopausal symptom scores, according to researchers, whereas stress scores had the highest correlation with psychological domain symptoms of the Menopause Rating Scale (P < .001) vs. somato-vegetative and urogenital symptoms (P < .001).
“We have known from the existing literature that mindfulness works for mood disorders, pain, stress, etc,” Sood said. “This study shows promise that mindfulness can be a tool for managing menopausal symptoms as well. We need to be cautious about taking this message too far, given that our study was cross-sectional in design. Future prospective studies would be needed to research this further.” – by Regina Schaffer
Sood R, et al. Abstract S-11. Presented at: North American Menopause Society Annual Meeting; Oct. 3-6, 2018; San Diego.
For more information:
Richa Sood, MD, MS, FACP, NCMP, can be reached at division of general internal medicine, Mayo Clinic, 200 1st St SW, Rochester, MN 55902; email: Sood.Richa@mayo.edu.
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.