African Health Sciences

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Estimation of salivary cortisol level in post-menopausal women with psychosomatic disorders

Rao Kumuda, Kumari Suchetha, Subhas Babu G, Urvashi Shetty A, Ullal Harshini


Background: Stress is an undesirable or health threatening response of the body, which is brought on by deleterious external influences (stressors). Objective measurement of psychosocial stress helps in assessment of pivotal role of stress in precipitation of multitude of health problems and a solution to the same. Salivary biomarkers are suggested to provide a reliable and non-invasive method for the estimation of these general health problems. Salivary cortisol is such biomarker used as tool in the examination of human physiological stress response. Post-menopausal women show an increase in stress levels and hence suffer with multiple health related problems. Hence the present study aimed to estimate salivary cortisol levels in post-menopausal women with clinically diagnosed psychosomatic disorder/disorders of the head and neck region, so as to establish salivary cortisol as a biochemical indicator of stress.
Methods: Thorough intra-oral and extra-oral examination was performed to check for the presence of psychosomatic disorder of head and neck. Unstimulated saliva was collected from 100 post-menopausal women with and 100 without clinically diagnosed psychosomatic disorder/disorders through ‘Spit Technique’. Salivary cortisol was estimated using ELISA method.
Results: The results were statistically significant as they showed that the salivary cortisol was in higher levels in post- menopausal women with clinically diagnosed psychosomatic disorder/disorders.
Conclusion: The geriatric patients feel that they have very little skills or resources to deal with the high levels of stress that they are experiencing and hence suffer from lack of self-worth. The results of this study recommend that stress evaluation should be done on a regular basis for all post- menopausal women. For individuals who do not reveal their psychological distress, salivary analysis of cortisol may be used as an aid to diagnose their situation in conjunction with clinical diagnosis.

Keywords: Post-menopausal women, psychosomatic disorder, head and neck, salivary cortisol, biomarker.
AJOL African Journals Online