Musculoskeletal Pain and Menopausal Status

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The authors examined whether self-reported menopausal status is associated with musculoskeletal pain in a multiethnic population of community-dwelling middle-aged women after considering sociodemographics, medical factors, smoking, depression, and body mass index using a cross-sectional study design.


Participants were 2218 women from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation assessed at the time of their third annual follow-up exam. Two dependent variables were derived from a factor analysis of survey questions about pain. These 2 outcomes were Aches and Pains, derived from 5 of 6 pain symptom questions and Consultation for Low Back Pain, derived from 1 question.


Prevalence of aches and pains was high, with 1 in 6 women reporting daily symptoms. Compared with premenopausal women, those who were early perimenopausal (P=0.002), late perimenopausal (P=0.002), or postmenopausal (P<0.0001) reported significantly more aches and pains in age-adjusted analysis. With complete risk factor adjustment, postmenopausal women still reported significantly greater pain symptoms (P=0.03) than did premenopausal women. Menopausal status was marginally related to consulting a healthcare provider for back pain.


This study demonstrates an association between pain and self-reported menopausal status, with postmenopausal women experiencing greater pain symptoms than premenopausal women.

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