Date of Award

5-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Kinesiology

First Advisor

Katherine Polasek, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Joy Hendrick, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

James Hokanson, Ph.D.

Abstract

Purpose of this study was to assess the amount of knowledge women have about menopause, its symptoms, and treatment options with an emphasis on using exercise as management tool. Fifty-two women from 40-65 years old volunteered to take the survey, in which most questions were taken from the NAMS-Gallup Survey of 1994. Two sites were utilized for data collection: the Capital Region site (29 participants) and the Central NY site (23 participants). Results indicated that menopausal women have sought out information about menopause by discussions with a doctor in order to help manage their symptoms. Topics discussed most often with a doctor included osteoporosis, calcium supplements, exercise, healthy eating, weight, and emotional and mental health. Only a little more than half of the participants had discussed exercise with a doctor, expressing a greater need for improved communication on that topic. Women were generally satisfied at some level with the information they have received and believe that symptoms can be dealt with by using natural (non-HRT) methods though most women have not tried those methods. From analysis of this active cohort (>82% being active 3 or more days per week) it was found that physical activity was not significantly correlated to lesser severity ratings of the top three most experienced symptoms. While not statistically significant in this study, other research has shown the importance of exercise to help aid women through this process and women in this cohort have adopted physical activity regimens to help cope with menopause. Sources, satisfaction of information, treatment options, physical activity associated with severity of symptoms, and interest of learning more were primary hypotheses of this study and while most were supported, physical activity and severity of symptoms need further evaluation. Exercise still remains a highly suggested treatment option to help women deal with menopause.

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