Harmonizing Hormones: Making Music to Alleviate Menopausal Symptoms 

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From hot flashes to insomnia, the menopausal transition can be quite the rocky road. But new research offers reason to sing a happier tune – music listening appears to smooth some of the bumpiest aspects of “the change.”

From hot flashes to depression, women undergoing menopause battle a veritable symphony of distressing symptoms. Pharmaceutical approaches carry side effects and interact with common chronic disease medications.[1] But might something as simple as listening to soothing music tame turbulence during this transitional tune? 

 

New research explored whether traditional Turkish music could relieve some of menopause’s most disruptive accompaniments.[2] In this 5-week randomized controlled trial, 61 menopausal women reporting significant troubles either listened to typical Turkish maqam twice daily or continued their normal routines. Outcomes assessed menopausal symptoms, sleep quality, and depression severit.

 

Results hit all the right notes: women randomized to hear harmonious whole tones and semitones (the melodic building blocks underlying maqam) enjoyed significantly greater improvements across all measures than controls. The music fans halved their self-reported menopause symptom scores over just 5 weeks. This stark contrast also emerged for depression inventory ratings and global sleep quality scores based on components like efficiency, disturbances, medications, and daytime function.

 

 

This investigation provides perhaps the best evidence yet that music offers a simple, side effect-free salve for menopause’s physical and emotional upheaval. Experts believe song exerts its soothing spell in part by stimulating “feel-good” hormone activity while alleviating stress chemicals.[9] Add this to music’s ability to regulate breathing, heart rate, muscle relaxation and more for a total mind-body tranquilizing makeover.[10] Of course, individual music memory and preference can influence relaxation responses too.[11] Cultural familiarity likely explains why maqam traditional Turkish music so resonated here – the tones and scales held deep intrinsic harmony for listeners.

 

With menopausal women poised to comprise over 1 billion individuals worldwide within 5 years,[12] scalable non-pharmacological symptom soothers like music grow increasingly vital. From a policy perspective, insurers and employers should consider covering music therapy to ease this inevitable yet distressing transition for many.[13] For women braving the rollercoaster themselves, creating a personalized relaxation playlist may just be what the doctor ordered! Of course, more research across cultural music types and real-world effectiveness will help fine-tune music’s clinical applications.[14] But for now, this study sings a sweet song of hope.

 

Learn more about the therapeutic value of music on our database here.

 

 

Research more natural approaches to menopausal symptoms on our database here.   

 

 


 

References

 

1. Soares Júnior, JM et al. “Women Health: Holistic View.” Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira vol. 69, no. Suppl 1 (2023): e2023S127. https://doi.org/10.1590/1806-9282.2023S127

 

2. Ugurlu, Meltem, et al. "The Effect of Music on Menopausal Symptoms, Sleep Quality and Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial." Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira vol. 70, no. 2 (2024): e20230829. https://doi.org/10.1590/1806-9282.20230829

 

9. Vinayak, Shweta et al. "Effect of Music Therapy on Sleep Quality of Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy: A Randomized Control Trial." Journal of Social Sciences vol. 6,4 734-743. 30 June. 2017, doi:10.25255/jss.2017.6.4.734.743 

 

10. İçel, Sevilay and Çiğdem Başoğul. "Effects of Progressive Muscle Relaxation Training with Music Therapy on Sleep and Anger of Patients at Community Mental Health Center." Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 43 (2021): 101338. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2021.101338

 

11. Burns, Debra S et al. "Reporting Guidelines for Music-Based Interventions." Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association vol. 16,2 (2011): 342-52. doi:10.1080/08870446.2011.537074

 

12. Zeng, Linan et al. "The prevalence of depression in menopausal women in China: a meta-analysis of observational studies." Journal of affective disorders vol. 256 (2019): 337-343. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2019.06.017  

 

13. Tang, Nicole KY et al. "Nonpharmacological Treatments of Insomnia for Long-Term Painful Conditions: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Patient-Reported Outcomes in Randomized Controlled Trials." SLEEP vol. 38,11 (2015): 1751-64. doi:10.5665/sleep.5158  

 

14. Chen, Chung-Ting et al. "Effect of Music Therapy on Improving Sleep Quality in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis." Journal of the American Geriatrics Society vol. 69,7 (2021): 1925-1932. doi:10.1111/jgs.17149

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