Talk Therapy May Help Menopause Woes

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 11, 2017 — Talk therapy may help relieve menopause-related sleep problems and depression, a new study suggests.

Insomnia — an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep — and depression are common in menopausal women.

“Given the high prevalence rates of insomnia and depressive symptoms in midlife women, we felt there was a need for more research to be done on the effectiveness of possible alternatives for treating these symptoms,” study author Sara Nowakowski said in a news release from the North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Nowakowski is a clinical psychologist with the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Cognitive behavioral therapy — which attempts to change negative thoughts and behaviors — is one of those potential alternative treatments.

For the study, Nowakowski and her colleagues assessed the effectiveness of four cognitive behavioral therapy sessions targeting insomnia and hot flashes in a small group of menopausal women.

The patients had improvements in sleep and depression, and the results were similar regardless of depression severity, the researchers found.

Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of NAMS, said, “The results of this study will hopefully lead to additional research to provide symptomatic menopausal women with more options than what were previously available.”

The study was to be presented Wednesday at the menopause society’s annual meeting in Philadelphia. Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about menopause.