Climacteric-related symptoms in menopause transition and beyond: a prospective 19-year follow-up study on previously hysterectomized women

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Abstract

Objective:

Only a few extended follow-up studies have investigated the natural progress of climacteric-related symptoms. The results have been conflicting. Thus, our aim was to evaluate, through a 19-year longitudinal study, whether these symptoms decrease or disappear as time elapses after menopause.

Methods:

Our study was a prospective follow-up survey of 65 hysterectomized peri or postmenopausal women. The women were interviewed at the baseline, and at 6 and 19 years thereafter. Changes in various climacteric-related symptoms were evaluated by repeated-measures analysis of variance with time as the independent variable. The analyses were adjusted for baseline age, body mass index, employment, and use of hormone therapy. Climacteric-related symptoms were evaluated with the Women's Health Questionnaire, of which we included seven symptom domains (vasomotor, sleep, depressive, anxiety/fears, cognitive, sexual, and somatic).

Results:

Vasomotor symptoms decreased remarkably during the follow-up period. In addition, a statistically significant decrease was found in sleep problems and cognitive difficulties. However, the decrease was minor, and thus probably clinically insignificant.

Conclusions:

The only symptom with notable decrease was vasomotor symptoms. The etiology of other symptoms, commonly connected to menopause transition, is probably multifactorial and not substantially dependent on the climacteric.

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