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Spiritual Pursuits Affect Menopausal Symptoms

What Can Affect the Intensity of Menopause Symptoms?

For many women, the menopausal period is characterized not only by hormonal changes but also by changes in mood, physical discomfort, hot flashes, and difficulties in sexual function. However, not all women experience these symptoms with the same intensity or discomfort.

To date, numerous studies have attempted to identify factors (e.g., personality traits) influencing how women perceive menopausal symptoms. Recently published data on the role of spiritual pursuits (e.g., religious faith, meditation) in these symptoms provide insight.

The study, based on a sample of 710 women, found that each woman’s level of spiritual seeking was related to the symptoms she reported. Specifically, a higher level of spiritual seeking was associated with fewer depressive symptoms, less anxiety, fewer difficulties concentrating, lower levels of pain/discomfort, fewer hot flashes, and reduced problems with sexual function.

How Is This Effect Explained?

The aforementioned study confirms previous findings showing that menopausal symptoms are not solely explained by hormonal changes but are often influenced by changes occurring in a woman’s life during climacteric age (e.g., weakening maternal role, increased health problems for herself or her husband, changes in body image).

The study suggests that spiritual pursuits are a factor associated with reporting fewer symptoms during menopause. One interpretation is that women with higher levels of spiritual pursuits manage life changes more positively, leading to fewer menopausal symptoms due to better mental health.

Reference: Pimenta F, Maroco J, Ramos C et al. (2014) Menopausal Symptoms: Is Spirituality Associated with the Severity of Symptoms? Journal of Religion and Health 13:1013-1024.


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