Try Mindfulness, Talk Therapy to Ease Mood, Memory Issues of Menopause

Try Mindfulness, Talk Therapy to Ease Mood, Memory Issues of Menopause
Adobe Stock/S. Mrdja

Key Takeaways

  • Mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy can help women manage their menopause symptoms

  • Both types of therapy helped with mood problems, sleep disorders and “brain fog”

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most cost-effective option, researchers said

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 28, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy can help ease the mood and sleep problems associated with menopause, a new review says.

Women experienced statistically significant improvements in anxiety and depression following mindfulness therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, according to an analysis of 30 studies involving more than 3,500 women going through menopause in 14 countries.

The results show that therapy can be as valuable as hormone replacement therapy in helping women deal with menopause symptoms, the researchers concluded.

“[General practitioners] and healthcare providers often struggle to know what to offer beyond medical treatment,” said senior researcher Roopal Desai, a fellow in psychology with University College London. “This research will help give GPs and patients more options.”

Mindfulness meditation teaches people to be intensely aware of what they are sensing and feeling in the moment, using breathing methods and other practices to relax the body and mind.

On the other hand, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) teaches people to recognize negative thoughts and behaviors that occur in response to challenging situations, and to adjust their responses to be more positive and beneficial.

The evidence review uncovered 10 studies looking at the impact of cognitive behavioral therapy on menopause symptoms, and nine evaluating the helpfulness of mindfulness meditation.

Another eleven studies reviewed other therapy techniques, including group counseling, marital support, health coaching and emotional freedom techniques.

Not only did CBT and mindfulness improve mood, but these therapies also were effective in reducing menopause-related “brain fog” difficulties with memory and concentration.

The results suggest that CBT is the most cost-effective option for menopause management, researchers said. Compared to other options, it requires a shorter course of treatment -- around 1.5 hours per session and nearly 12 hours total.

The new study was published Feb. 27 in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

The researchers noted these findings fall in line with guidelines recommending that CBT be considered alongside hormone replacement therapy or as an alternative to it.

“Menopause management is now a prioritized topic in public health,” said lead researcher Aimee Spector, a professor of clinical psychology of aging with University College London. “However, most studies of menopause symptom management focus on hormonal replacement therapy and physiological symptoms.”

“This restricts treatment options for women who are concerned about the risks of hormone replacement therapy and overlooks the well-being of women with non-physiological symptoms, such as brain fog and mood problems, which are highly prevalent,” Spector said in a university news release.

More information

The Mayo Clinic has more about treatment of menopause.

SOURCE: University College London, news release, Feb. 27, 2024

What This Means For You

Women going through menopause should consider cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation to help them deal with their symptoms.

Related Stories

No stories found.