Menopausal transition in Southern Europe: comparative study of women in Serbia and Portugal

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Abstract

Objective:

The aim of this study was to assess and compare general menopausal quality of life in Serbia and Portugal.

Methods:

In all, 1,503 women aged between 40 and 65 years from Belgrade, Serbia, and Lisbon, Portugal, were included in the study. A sociodemographic questionnaire and the Utian Quality of Life (UQOL) scale were used in data collection.

Results:

The average age of women was 50 (SD = 5.61) years. Serbian and Portuguese women differed in all sociodemographic characteristics except for body mass index (BMI) and relationship status. There were no significant differences in UQOL total score (P = 0.629) or UQOL sexual score (P = 0.396) between Serbian and Portuguese women. However, occupational (P < 0.001) and health (P = 0.003) scores were significantly higher in the Serbian sample, whereas Portuguese women had higher emotional scores (P < 0.001). Based on the total study sample, women with an average UQOL score were more highly educated, employed, non-smokers, and physically active, and more likely to obtain medical assistance for climacteric symptoms compared with women who reported lower UQOL score. In addition to these characteristics, women with a higher UQOL score had higher annual income, no recent illnesses, and optimal BMI compared with women who reported a lower UQOL score.

Conclusions:

This study showed that diverse populations of midlife women can have similar perceptions of quality of life as it encompasses broad dimensions of menopausal somatic and psychosocial symptoms, as well as habits and lifestyle. Further comparative studies using the UQOL scale are warranted to offer more information on the delicate factors influencing well-being in climacteric women worldwide.

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