Menopausal symptoms and associated risk factors among postmenopausal women screened for the metabolic syndrome

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Abstract

Background

Although the frequency of menopausal symptoms may vary according to the studied population, in general severe intensity has been related to lower quality of life.

Objective

To assess the frequency of menopausal symptoms and involved risk factors in an Ecuadorian postmenopausal population.

Methods

Postmenopausal women that participated in a metabolic syndrome screening program were interviewed with the Menopause-specific quality of life questionnaire (MENQOL) in order to determine the most frequently presenting menopausal symptoms and correlate these symptoms with socio-demographic data and the main results of the screening program.

Results

Three hundred and twenty-five postmenopausal women (n = 325) were surveyed with the MENQOL. Mean age of participants was 55.9 ± 8.1 years (median: 54 years). The most frequently presenting symptoms were: hot flushes (53.3%), sweating (49.2%), poor memory (80.6%), feeling depressed (67.4%), aching in muscles and joints (84%), drying of their skin (85.5%), avoiding intimacy (76.2%) and change in their sexual desire (76.5%). Multivariate analysis determined that abdominal obesity was a significant risk factor for presenting hot flushes, depression and muscle and joint pain. High triglyceride levels were associated to higher rates of sweating and depression. While women with basal hyperglycemia were associated to dry skin and changes in sexual desire in a higher proportion, those who were older and with more years of menopause onset were related less frequently to vasomotor symptoms. Older age was also significantly associated in a higher rate to dry skin.

Conclusion

In this postmenopausal Ecuadorian population, the frequency of menopausal symptoms, as assessed with the MENQOL, was found to be relatively similar to other Latin and non-Latin American populations and associated to age, hormonal status and related metabolic conditions.

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