Bowel Habits May Be Tied to Severity of Menopause Symptoms

Frequency of defecation and stool consistency tied to intensity of menopause symptoms
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Perceived stress and some gastrointestinal symptoms are associated with menopausal symptoms, according to a study published online Oct. 3 in Menopause.

Ieva Brimienė, M.D., from Vilnius University in Lithuania, and colleagues evaluated the relationship between menopausal symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms, and stress in women from premenopause to postmenopause. The analysis included survey results from 693 participants.

The researchers found that the Menopause-Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire (MENQOL) total score increased depending on the stages of reproductive aging and positively correlated with Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) scores (r = 0.47). There was a significant association observed between age, reproductive stage, body mass index (BMI), PSS score, diagnosis of depression or anxiety disorder, physical activity, and frequency of defecation with total MENQOL score. PSS score and diagnosis of depression or anxiety disorder were associated with higher scores in all MENQOL domains, except sexual. Vasomotor items were associated with physical activity and the values of the Bristol stool form scale. Psychosocial and sexual domains were impacted independently by the frequency of defecation, while physical symptoms were associated with BMI, physical activity, and frequency of defecation.

"This study shows a potential association between bowel habits and menopause symptoms. These findings highlight how the loss of estrogen at the time of menopause can affect multiple body systems and result in myriad symptoms that may be interrelated," Stephanie Faubion, M.D., medical director of the North American Menopause Society, said in a statement. "The physiologic mechanisms underlying these associations remain unclear and require additional study."

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