Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Researchers have conducted a first-of-its-kind study of the effects of anxiety on postmenopausal women and how it relates to their quality of life.
Previous studies have examined the role anxiety plays in premenopausal and perimenopausal women but not in postmenopausal women.
Researchers reviewed data from a multicenter, cross-sectional study of 3,503 postmenopausal Latin American women and found that women who reported experiencing anxiety were five times more likely to have severe physical symptoms including hot flashes, sleep disruption and muscle and joint pain.
Possible explanations for this include the fact that anxiety is linked to increased levels of norepinephrine and serotonin, which can increase the frequency of vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes. A link between anxiety and severe urogenital symptoms has also been found.
"Although anxiety is a common symptom during menopause, panic attacks are not," Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of the North American Menopause Society, or NAMS, said in a press release. "This study documents the importance of screening patients for anxiety. If women are having significant anxiety, they should discuss viable treatment options with their healthcare providers. These can include relaxation techniques, caffeine reduction, and exercise. Estrogen therapy or other mood medications might also prove helpful."
The study was published in Menopause.