Menopause, marks the end of the monthly cycle of menstruation in a woman’s life. It is a natural occurrence and marks the end of the reproductive years. Most women reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, the average being around 51.
We are currently investigating whether health coaching may be used to help women through the ‘change of life’. The study aimed to prevent depression and mood disturbances in women during their menopausal transition. Data from the United States suggests that nearly one in every four women experiences clinically significant depressive symptoms as they transition towards menopause. Symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, hot flushes and night sweats, sleep disturbances, urinary problems, muscle and joint pains and mood changes. Health coaches work to keep people healthy by providing education about health issues, suggesting lifestyle changes and best ways to deal with existing health problems. Menopausal transition usually starts at around age 47 and lasts between four and seven years. The ‘menopause’ is the last menstrual period and on average happens at age 51.
The study's approach will be similar to that used to prevent heart disease, where multiple risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, poor diet, alcohol use and smoking are targeted simultaneously. We expect that preventing depression during the menopausal transition will have long-term health benefits for older women. If successful, the results of this trial will have implications for the management of women undergoing the MT.