Perimenopausal women used to suffer from psychological menopausal symptoms such as mood fluctuation, anxiety, depressive symptoms. In order to check whether fragrances alleviate these psychological menopausal symptoms, we examined the menopausal symptom-dependent brain signals.
Twenty-eight perimenopausal women (age: 43–56) participated in this study. We did EEG recording in six odor conditions. We examined the effects of essential oil fragrances including lavender (L), olibanum (O), palmarosa (P) and couple of custom mixtures named olibanum29 (O29) and palmarosa12 (P12). As a control, no odorant condition (dipropylene glycol (DPG) solvent only) was applied.
We found that these fragrances could ameliorate brain responses of severe symptoms toward brain responses of light symptoms. Under no odorant condition, we could observe different brain response depend on menopausal symptoms severity (KI score) when negative emotion was evoked. The severity of symptoms showed a significantly negative correlation with alpha power (r = −0.41) and significantly positive correlation with beta/alpha ratio (r = 0.39) which is widely used as an arousal index. These EEG characteristics showed only in psychological symptoms category: depressive symptoms, anxiety, not in physiological symptoms. On the other hands, these significant correlations were disappeared with fragrance treatments. That is, fragrance treatments sufficiently modulate alpha power and beta/alpha ratio of severe symptoms until vanishing significant correlations.
Our study showed acute fragrance effects depend on KI score using EEG analysis. It helps us to understand brain signals while fragrances alleviate psychological menopause symptoms. In addition, we could compare numerous fragrances under the same condition for industrial applications. In summary, our study may contribute to well-being life for perimenopausal women by fragrance stimulation to alleviate psychological menopause symptoms.