Structured counseling about lifestyle modifications in diet and exercise may help mitigate disease risk and symptomatology among menopausal women, according to findings presented in a poster session at the Annual Meeting of the North American Society of Menopause (NAMS) 2022, held October 12-15 in Atlanta, Georgia. Lead author Eshani Dixit, BA, of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, received a NAMS New Investigator Award for this research.
“Menopausal people are eager to discuss diet and exercise changes with their health care providers; providers can and should use visits to discuss the positive impact that exercise and dietary modifications can have on managing menopausal symptoms and preventing diseases, such as osteoporosis,” Dixit said in an interview.
“As is the case with most conversations between patients and providers, the lifestyle modification conversation is an opportunity for shared decision-making,” Dixit said. “While the evidence gives us guidelines for recommending changes, effective advice involves the introduction of sustainable goals. We also found that group counseling, if possible, is a useful tool.”
Current recommendations for managing menopausal symptoms include modifying diet and exercise habits. These lifestyle changes may also mitigate the risk of diseases that increase in incidence in women after the menopausal transition, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and cancers of the reproductive tract.
To corroborate many of the popular beliefs about the role of lifestyle modifications in menopause, Dixit and colleagues Gloria Bachmann, MD, MMS, and Juana Hutchinson-Colas, MD, MBA, conducted a literature search of published studies between 1995 and 2022.
Key findings on diet and exercise in menopausal people
To improve vasomotor symptoms, the study findings suggest that menopausal people should consume a diet rich in fiber and fruit. This diet has been shown to alter the level of circulating sex hormones and may protect against breast and gynecological cancer.
Exercise, including weight-bearing exercise, has also been associated with relief of vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause in some women. In addition, exercise has been found to increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in this age group and can potentially reverse bone loss among people with osteoporosis along with increased dietary calcium and vitamin D, they noted. the study authors.
Findings of the FLEMISH Trials show that a 16-week exercise program (60-minute sessions 3 days a week) improved menopause-related symptoms, including vasomotor symptoms, psychological state, and partner relationships. other’s data to study found that group counseling improved diet, exercise, and foot care behaviors among menopausal women with diabetes.
In general, people with menopause report an interest in participating in lifestyle-focused programs that provide recommendations for diet and exercise modifications aimed at improving menopause-related symptomatology, the study authors said.
This review may have been limited by not performing a consensus analysis. These findings should be confirmed in a controlled study, they added.
WPSI Obesity Prevention Recommendations for Women in Midlife
These findings are in line with the WPSI recommendations to discuss obesity prevention strategies with all women ages 40 to 60, even if they are not overweight.
“Many of the strategies that are considered part of obesity prevention are also strategies that protect heart and bone health, among other things,” Dixit said. “BMI and weight control aside, diet and exercise modification have many other benefits for menopausal women. If people see healthy, desired weight loss through these changes, that could be an advantage, but the goal should be to create sustainable behaviors that demonstrate improvement in their overall health.”
Education that provides lifestyle advice on diet and exercise goals that can alleviate symptoms associated with menopause and mitigate disease risk may be beneficial, the researchers concluded. A separate lifestyle visit for perimenopausal care may be the optimal opportunity to start these conversations with patients, they noted.
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Dixit E, Bachmann G, Hutchinson-Colas J. Improving diet and exercise counseling for menopausal women. Poster presented at: NAMS 2022 Annual Meeting; October 12-15, 2022; Atlanta Georgia.
This article originally appeared on Clinical Advisor