Compared with premenopausal women, postmenopausal women experienced greater improvement in pain following interventions such as physical therapy despite being prescribed fewer medications, a new study shows.
“This study provides us a better understanding of pain management strategies for pre versus postmenopausal women,” said Tian Yu, MD, who presented the research at the 22nd annual pain medicine meeting of the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine. “With our postmenopausal patients, we may no longer jump the gun and give them a lot of medications; we may first turn to physical therapy or procedural intervention, which they seem to benefit much more from than pharmacological therapy.”
Pain perception is a multifaceted phenomenon influenced by age, gender, individual variations, and hormonal changes. Pain management in women, particularly in the context of menopausal status, still lacks consensus.
Menopause primarily results from diminished production of estrogen by the ovaries, leading to spinal and joint pain, hot flashes, night sweats, chronic fatigue, increased osteoclastic activity with a heightened risk for osteoporosis, psychological symptoms, and elevated risk for cardiovascular disease.
For their retrospective cohort study, Yu, department of anesthesiology, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, and his colleagues looked at 1215 women who had been treated for different chronic pain conditions for at least 3 months. The researchers used a predefined age cutoff of 51 years (considered the national average) to categorize participants as either premenopausal (n = 248) or postmenopausal (n = 967). Pain scores and subjective improvement were assessed after pharmacological and procedural interventions.
According to Yu, the results revealed distinct patterns in pain scores and response to interventions between the two groups.
Although postmenopausal women initially reported higher mean pain scores upon presentation (8.037 vs 7.613 in premenopausal women), they reported more improvement following intervention (63% vs 59%; P = .029). They responded more favorably to both procedural and pharmacological interventions, but were prescribed muscle relaxants, tricyclic antidepressants, and benzodiazepines less frequently than premenopausal women, Yu’s group found.
“So even though postmenopausal women had a higher initial pain score, they had better pain improvement after procedural intervention, although they were prescribed fewer pharmacological interventions,” Yu said.
The fact that postmenopausal women typically are older than women who have not reached menopause could act as a confounding factor in this study in terms of disease prevalence and intervention, Yu said. Additionally, the study’s reliance on a broad menopausal age cutoff of 51 years may limit the true characterization of menopausal status.
While acknowledging study limitations, the findings suggest a potential shift toward prioritizing nonpharmacological interventions in postmenopausal women. Further investigation into physical therapy and other approaches could provide a more comprehensive understanding of pain management strategies in this population.
“We hope to take these findings into consideration during our practice to better individualize care,” Yu said.
Robert Wenham, MD, MS, chair of gynecologic oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida, who was not involved in the study, said: “Despite the many methodological challenges it has, including using age as a surrogate for menopause, I applaud the authors for investigating how pain and pain management may be individualized for women.”
Wenham added that he hoped the findings would prompt additional studies “that specifically address populations based on hormonal status and other confounding factors, so that interventional avenues may be identified for clinical trials.”
Yu and Wenham report no relevant financial relationships.
Source link : https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/999003?src=rss
Publish date : 2023-12-01 23:35:12
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