Objectives: A qualitative research study was performed to assess the health and lifestyle behaviors of middle-aged women during the menopause transition, as well as to inform the development of interventions designed to combat menopause symptoms and improve quality of life during and after menopause.
Study design: Data were collected from 1611 women via a 21-item questionnaire distributed electronically. Only women who self-reported age ≥40 years and who were either peri-menopausal or post-menopausal were included in the analyses.
Outcome measures: Women responded to questions about their health behaviors and experiences during menopause, including use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), symptom ratings, and use of diet/lifestyle, exercise, and holistic remedies to relieve menopause symptoms.
Results: More than 80% of women were interested in a structured lifestyle program to alleviate menopause symptoms, with 72% of these women wanting targeted strategies for weight loss or weight maintenance. Insomnia and hot flashes were the most severe symptoms reported. Although HRT is a well-established treatment of menopausal symptoms, more than 60% of women denied use of HRT, stating that they 'never considered HRT' as a treatment option or 'preferred to not take HRT'. Most women (65%) did not feel prepared for menopause.
Conclusions: Women do not feel prepared for menopause and report interest in a structured lifestyle program containing weight-loss and weight-maintenance strategies to combat menopause symptoms.
Keywords: Exercise; Holistic; Lifestyle; Menopause; Questionnaire; Symptoms.
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