Objective: To assess the feasibility and efficacy of a yoga treatment for menopausal symptoms. Both physiologic and self-reported measures of hot flashes were included.
Methods: A prospective within-group pilot study was conducted. Participants were 12 peri- and post-menopausal women experiencing at least 4 menopausal hot flashes per day, at least 4 days per week. Assessments were administered before and after completion of a 10-week yoga program. Pre- and post-treatment measures included: Severity of questionnaire-rated menopausal symptoms (Wiklund Symptom Check List), frequency, duration, and severity of hot flashes (24-h ambulatory skin-conductance monitoring; hot-flash diary), interference of hot flashes with daily life (Hot Flash Related Daily Interference Scale), and subjective sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index). Yoga classes included breathing techniques, postures, and relaxation poses designed specifically for menopausal symptoms. Participants were asked to practice at home 15 min each day in addition to weekly classes.
Results: Eleven women completed the study and attended a mean of 7.45 (S.D. 1.63) classes. Significant pre- to post-treatment improvements were found for severity of questionnaire-rated total menopausal symptoms, hot-flash daily interference; and sleep efficiency, disturbances, and quality. Neither 24-h monitoring nor accompanying diaries yielded significant changes in hot flashes.
Conclusions: The yoga treatment and study procedures were feasible for midlife women. Improvement in symptom perceptions and well being warrant further study of yoga for menopausal symptoms, with a larger number of women and including a control group.