Objective: Besides repeated stress exposure, a sedentary lifestyle and low estrogen levels are risk factors for the development of functional dyspepsia (FD). The aim of this study was to find out the effect of adding aerobic exercise (5 sessions per week) to the daily application of a 40-minute Benson's relaxation therapy (BRT) (diaphragmatic breathing and progressive muscle relaxation applied for 20 minutes in the morning and evening) on Glasgow dyspepsia severity score (GDSS), cortisol, visual analogue scale (VAS) (for abdominal symptoms), estradiol (one of the endogenous estrogens), Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI), and 42-item depression, anxiety, and stress scales (DASS-42) in 60 perimenopausal women with FD.
Patients and methods: Women who consumed a daily dose of pantoprazole (40 mg tablet administered as a proton pump inhibitor drug) were randomly assigned to an 8-week study group (this group received aerobic exercise plus BRT, N=30) or an 8-week control group (this group received BRT only, N=30).
Results: Significant improvements were reported in all measured variables within women groups (except estradiol of the control group). Compared to the control group, the reported within-group significant improvements in GDSS, cortisol, VAS, PSQI, and DASS-42 were higher in the study group.
Conclusions: Significant improvements in GDSS, cortisol, VAS, PSQI, and DASS-42 could be achieved after adding adjunctive therapies - aerobic exercise and BRT - to the medications of FD in perimenopausal women. Compared to BRT alone, physical exercise plus BRT significantly increases the levels of estradiol in perimenopausal women with FD.