Handbook of Disease Burdens and Quality of Life Measures pp 4103-4117 | Cite as
Exercise and Quality of Life in Menopause
Menopause, if not induced surgically, is a normal part of the female ageing process but many perimenopausal and early postmenopausal women will experience menopause symptoms that are troublesome and unpleasant. A range of physical, somatic and psychological symptoms have been associated with menopause, including hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, depression, sexual dysfunction, fatigue and insomnia.
Hormone replacement therapy is known to be an effective treatment for menopausal symptoms but many women are reluctant to take it and are keen to try alternatives. For women who choose not to take hormone replacement therapy, aerobic exercise might be a useful intervention in mitigating the negative effects of menopause. There are plausible mechanisms by which exercise might positively impact on symptoms.
Observational studies have shown an association between exercise and lower rates of menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes/night sweats. Regardless of whether participants allocation has been randomized, most published trials have failed to report reductions specifically in vasomotor hot flushes in exercising women but no trial has been statistically powered to detect intervention effects for this outcome. Nevertheless, trials involving general populations of menopausal-aged women have shown that exercise can reduce some of the types of symptoms experienced by women at menopause, highlighting the potential role that exercise might have for this population.
Given that hormone replacement therapy may not provide women with all the protective health benefits once thought and women are keen to try other means of managing their symptoms, finding evidence-based alternatives has become increasing important. Studies suggest that exercise has shown some promise of being one such intervention, but they do not allow any stronger conclusion than this at present.
KeywordsHormone Replacement Therapy Menopausal Woman Menopausal Symptom Vasomotor Symptom Menopause Transition
List of Abbreviations:
body mass index
chief medical officer
estrogen replacement therapy
hormone replacement therapy
intention to treat
miles per hour
Study of Women's Health Across the Nation
United States of America
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