Mental and gastrointestinal health related to menopausal symptoms

Mental and gastrointestinal health related to menopausal symptoms | Image credit: © loran4a – © loran4a

Stress and certain gastrointestinal symptoms are associated with menopausal symptoms in women, according to a recent study published in . menopause.


  • Perceived stress and gastrointestinal symptoms are associated with menopausal symptoms in women, according to a recent study published in . menopause.
  • Menopause usually occurs around age 50 to 52, and women spend a significant portion of their lives postmenopausal.
  • Estrogen deficiency and changes in gonadal steroids are involved in menopausal symptoms and can affect the central nervous system (CNS).
  • The intestinal microbiota is influenced by stress, age, and female hormones, and is also associated with central nervous system function and menopausal symptoms.
  • Factors such as sleep, physical activity, depression, and gastrointestinal health are associated with the severity of menopausal symptoms in women. Clinicians are encouraged to consider these factors when managing menopausal symptoms in their patients.

Advances in medicine and medicine have made it possible to live longer, and the population of elderly people has increased. The median age of menopause is 50 to 52 years of age, and most women spend 30% to 40% of their lives postmenopausal.

Data shows that up to 80% of women experience menopausal symptoms, and for some, symptoms persist for years after menopause. Although estrogen deficiency is a common factor associated with menopausal symptoms, decreased gonadal steroids may be responsible for central nervous system (CNS)-related menopausal symptoms.

The intestinal flora is also associated with CNS function, and the intestinal flora is affected by stress. Furthermore, age and female hormones are also factors associated with changes in the intestinal flora.

Researchers conducted a study to determine whether there is a link between menopausal symptoms, stress perception, and gastrointestinal symptoms in middle-aged women. Participants aged 40 to 60 completed an online survey conducted in Lithuanian.

The study included three questionnaires: the Demographics and Medical Conditions Questionnaire, the 10-Item Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10), and the Menopause-Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire (MENQOL) . Survey elements include demographic and health questions, obstetric and gynecological medical history questions, gastrointestinal symptoms questions, and general health questions.

The PSS-10 analyzed times when participants felt their lives were unpredictable, uncontrollable, and overloaded. Items were rated on his 5-point Likert scale from “never” to “very often.” Higher scores indicate increased perceived stress.

The MENQOL contained 29 items. His four domains were evaluated: vasomotor, psychosocial, physical, and sexual. Higher scores indicated poorer quality of life. Participants were classified using the Stages of Reproduction Aging Workshop +10 (STRAW10) classification, which assesses reproductive age aging.

The final analysis included 693 women. In these women, significant associations were found between the STRAW10 stage and their MENQOL total score, as well as vasomotor, physical, and sexual domain scores. At stage -3a, the total menstrual score was 2.97 ± 1.4, while at stage +2 it was 4.0 ± 1.5.

MENQOL total number of schools was not associated with age, education, smoking, number of pregnancies, or birth type. However, a significant association was found between BMI and total MENQOL score.

MENQOL scores were significantly reduced in women who received more than 7 hours of sleep each night. Similar associations were found in psychosocial and physical domains.

Physical activity was also significantly associated with lower total, vasomotor, physical, and psychosocial MENQOL scores. MENQOL scores were found to be significantly higher in women diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorders.

Gastrointestinal factors significantly associated with total MENWOL score include defecation frequency and stool consistency. Defecation frequency was also associated with physical domains, and stool consistency was also associated with physical, vasomotor, and sexual domains. No association was found between time since last antibiotic use and MENQOL scores.

The average PSS score was 17.1 out of 34. Low stress was reported by 31% of participants, moderate stress by 59.6%, and high stress by 9.4%. A significant positive correlation was found between PSS score and total MENQOL score.

These results showed an association between gastrointestinal factors and perceived stress and menopausal symptoms. The researchers recommended that clinicians pay more attention to women’s mental and gastrointestinal health to manage menopausal symptoms.


Brimienė I, Šiaudinytė M, Burokas A, Grikšienė R. Exploring the association between menopausal symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms, and perceived stress: a survey-based analysis. menopause. 2023;30(11). doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000002259

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