Background: As a physiological event, menopause is an important milestone in women's lives. Numerous studies have shown the negative impact of this stage of women's lives on their quality of life.The present study aimed to assess the effectiveness of education about physical activity via social networks on the quality of life of menopausal women.
Methods: This randomized controlled trial was conducted at Khormoj, Southwest of Iran, in 2018 on 54 menopausal women (27 experimental group (EG) and 27 control group (CG)). For the EG, a WhatsApp group was created and, every week, three educational written messages, clips, or pamphlets about physical activity and its importance during menopause were sent for 10 weeks. The study outcome (quality of life) was measured via Menopause-Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire (MENQOL) at the onset and one month after the intervention. Data were analyzed through SPSS 19, using independent and paired T-tests.
Results: One month post-intervention, there was a significant difference between the EG and CG groups in the total quality of life, and vasomotor, physical and sexual dimensions compared to the CG group (p <0.05). Between the baseline and one month post-intervention, a greater increase in quality of life was observed in the EG than in the CG, giving a mean difference of -10.52 (p <0.0001).
Conclusion: The present study showed that holding an educational program using the WhatsApp social network enhanced quality of life of menopausal women.
Throughout their lives, women experience several stages including puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. Reaching any of these stages and passing through them will encounter women with situations and sometimes crises that may affect different aspects of their lives (1). Meanwhile, as a physiological event, menopause is an important milestone in women's lives; according to the definition by the World Health Organization, it refers to the cessation of menstruation for 12 months, following the loss of ovarian follicular activity (2). Various studies carried out in Iran and in the world have shown that the age of menopause could potentially depend on a variety of factors including race, genetic characteristics, socioeconomic status, fertility status, physical activity, nutrition, sexual behaviors, and diseases (3). The mean age of menopause has been estimated 50-52 years. In Iran, the mean age of menopause is 51 years (4-6). Following the incidence of menopause, changes in the hormonal, physical and metabolic processes of the woman’s body would lead to many physical, psychological, and social disorders including hot flash, sweating, palpitation, sleep disorder, irritability, lethargy, depression, amnesia, decreased eroticism, painful intercourse, and urinary symptoms (7-10).
Numerous studies have shown the negative impact of this stage of women's lives on their quality of life. The results of previous studies indicated that menopause women were 3.5 times more likely to be at risk of mental disorders. They were also 5.7 and 3.2 times more likely to be at risk of physical impairment and sexual dysfunction, respectively. According to these studies, menopause could reduce the quality of a person's life regardless of the factors such as age and other demographic variables (11-14). Therefore, it seems important and inevitable to find some ways to prevent the minimization of the quality of life and to lower the symptoms and complications in menopause women to the possible extent. It seems that using non-medical methods, such as changing and improving lifestyle, can be useful for minimization of the symptoms and complications of this critical period. One of the appropriate health behaviors is to have mobility and do regular physical activities. Regular physical activity might increase the individual's ability to do his/her tasks and to feel healthy, empowered, and self-confident (15, 16). Doing regular physical activity would reduce blood glucose and blood pressure, stimulate the increase of catecholamins as well as adrenaline and noradrenaline, increase muscle strength, increase aerobic and cardiovascular endurance, and increase balance and coordination (17,18).
Social networking is built on the idea of the way should people know and interact with each other. It gives people the power to share making the world more open and connected . Nowadays, social networking has a vital influence on our live as it helps a lot in every aspect of life such as political,,
Economic, and educational field s. Flexibility, convenience and accessibility have a vital influence on the use of social networking in education (20). The phenomenon of social media has become part of Internet culture, and published literature describing social media interventions for chronic disease management are becoming more prevalent (21). In recent years, instant messaging applications, which can be identified as mobile-based social networks, have started to become popular. Though there are a lot of instant messaging applications that can operate on mobile devices, it is seen that WhatsApp application is one of the most favored mobile-based applications (22).
Ebrahimi et al. in 2017 indicated a positive role for using WhatsApp software to promote lifestyle, thus improving the level of health of women under study (23). Also, Estaji et al. conducted a study in 2016 using cellular text messaging that led to self-care promotion in hemodialysis patients under study(24). Mirghafurvand et al. conducted a study entitled “the influence of aerobic exercise program on the quality of life of pre-menopause and menopause women: a randomized, controlled clinical trial” and found that moderate aerobic exercise was effective in improving the quality of life of pre-menopause and menopause women (25). Given the influence of menopause on women's quality of life and the fact that itis considered as an indicator for assessment of health status, the present research was conducted to examine the effectiveness of education about physical activity via WhatsApp on the quality of life of menopausal women.