Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention among Women with Slight Menopausal Symptoms: A Pilot Study

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention among Women with Slight Menopausal Symptoms: A Pilot Study

Article excerpt

Menopause is associated with a considerable variety of physical, psychological and social symptoms that can be treated using cognitive-behavioral techniques. In the present study, 21 women took part in an eight-week group intervention consisting of weekly two-hour sessions to address their slight symptoms related to the climacteric stage of life. The intervention included: psycho education on menopause, relaxation techniques, nutrition and fitness exercises, Kegel exercises, and problemsolving techniques. A control group was included that did not receive treatment and consisted of 28 women. The results revealed a significant reduction in most symptoms (including depression and anxiety) after intervention as compared to the baseline period. No changes appeared in the control group. The relevance of this work lies in the potential element of prevention this therapeutic package could offer to relieve various symptoms, slight and incipient, during the perimenopausal stage.

Keywords: menopause, psychological intervention, slight symptoms.

La menopausia aparece asociada a una importante variedad de síntomas físicos, psicológicos y sociales, susceptibles de ser tratados mediante técnicas cognitivo-conductuales. En este trabajo, 21 mujeres recibieron una intervención grupal de ocho sesiones semanales de dos horas para tratar la sintomatología leve relacionada con la etapa climatérica. La intervención incluía: psicoeducación en menopausia, técnicas de desactivación, entrenamiento en nutrición y ejercicio físico, ejercicios de Kegel y técnicas de solución de problemas. 28 mujeres constituyeron el grupo control, que no recibió tratamiento. Los resultados muestran una reducción significativa de la sintomatología asociada en todas las variables estudiadas (incluyendo depresión y ansiedad), con respecto al periodo de línea base, cambios que, por el contrario, no se observan en el grupo control. La relevancia del trabajo radica en el posible componente preventivo de este paquete terapéutico para diversos síntomas, todavía leves e incipientes, de la etapa perimenopáusica.

Palabras clave: menopausia, intervención psicológica, sintomatología leve.

Menopause is the permanent cessation of menstruation due to the depletion of ovarian follicular activity, a depletion that is part of the natural aging process in women.

It usually begins between 45 and 55 years of age. In Spain, the mean age of onset is around 51.4 years old (Spanish Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics 2006); when it appears before 45 years of age, it is considered quite early. In Spain, menopause naturally occurs in close to 270,000 women each year, which implies that around 20% of the Spanish female population find themselves in the menopausal period.

Climacteric and menopause are closely related concepts, though they do not refer to exactly the same thing; it is therefore important that we establish the differences between them. Climacteric is the phase or process of aging in women; it has imprecise limits, and includes three periods. The first is perimenopause and occurs between one and eight years before menopause itself begins. During this period, a series of gradual changes begin to occur in the endocrine system, as well as clinical manifestations that herald the approach of menopause. The second period is menopause, which is confirmed by having experienced a year of amenorrhea. The postmenopausal stage begins when menopause is confirmed, and lasts until old age (Marín, 1996). From a practical point of view, the word menopause refers globally to the process of ovarian senescence, and includes both perimenopause and the postmenopausal stage (Malacara, 2006).

The present study will focus on incipient symptoms present in the perimenopause stage (in the text, this will be termed symptoms of menopause or menopausal symptoms).

The symptoms of menopause can vary widely, but some are reported more frequently than others. …

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