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Table 2 Selected studies of physical activity and vaginal dryness

From: Recent evidence exploring the associations between physical activity and menopausal symptoms in midlife women: perceived risks and possible health benefits

Reference Sample Physical activity measure Menopausal symptom measure Other measures Detailed findings Summarized findings: observed association
Null Positive Negative Mixed
Cross-sectional studies  
Aydin et al. 2014 [34] 1071 Islamicpostmenopausalwomen (of 1328 women that expressed interest) who attended an outpatient clinic from 2005–12 Questionnaire included an item on regular exercise, defined as 30-min for ≥2 times per week (yes/no) Validated questionnaire assessing genitourinary symptoms, including presence or absence of vaginal dryness Socio-demographics, health behaviors, anthropometrics, length of menopausal status (months) The prevalence of vaginal dryness was higher in participants reporting regular exercise   x   
Tan et al. 2014 [33] 305 Turkish (District of Izmir) menopausal women who went to their primary care physician between August and October 2009 International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ)-short version. Women were classified as: low, moderate, or high active Turkish version of the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS), which includes 11 items assessing assess somato-vegetative, psychological and urogenital symptoms; scores range from ‘not present’ to ‘very severe’ Socio-demographic factors, health behaviors, anthropometrics High active women had a lower prevalence of vaginal dryness symptoms than low and moderate active women    x  
Prospective cohort studies  
de Azevedo Guimaraes et al. 2011 [45] 120 Brazilianwomen aged45–59 years oldvolunteered for the 12-week study(recruited throughwork or other institutions) Habitual PA was assessed through the short form of the International PA Questionnaire (IPAQ); Participants were classified as: maintained <30 min/day, maintained or increased to 30–60 min/day, or maintained or increased to >60 min/day Vaginal dryness was assessed using the Kupperman Menopausal Index Socio-demographic factors, anthropometrics, menopausal status and symptoms, and QOL There was no difference in reported vaginal dryness by activity group x    
104 women completed the 12-week study
Non-randomized intervention studies  
Karacan, 2010 [50]a 112 women aged 46–55. The analytic sample included 65 participants that regularly participated in the 3- and 6-month exercise program The 6-month exercise program included aerobic activity (75–80 % heart rate capacity) with calisthenics for 3 days a week for 55 min each session The menopause rating scale (MRS) was composed of 11 items assessing menopausal symptoms divided into three groups: psychological, somatic-vegetative and urogenital Physical characteristics (height, weight, and age at menopause), resting heart rate and blood pressure, lower back flexibility, hand grip strength, and body composition (skin folds) There was no pre- to post- exercise program difference in vaginal dryness x    
Randomized controlled trials  
Moilanen et al. 2012 [53]a 176 Finnish white women were recruited for the study by newspaper advertisements. The analytic sample included 154 inactive participants were randomly assigned to the exercise (n = 74) or control group (n = 77) that completed the 6-month study protocol Exercise Group: Unsupervised aerobic training intervention; 4 × per week at 64–80 % maximal heart rate for 50 min each time The presence of vaginal dryness were collected 2 × per day using a mobile phone- administered questionnaire Socio-demographic factors, anthropometrics, and menopausal symptoms The prevalence of vaginal dryness decreased pre- to post- intervention    x  
  1. aPhysical activity dose reflective of 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans [3]