The framework of the lifespan approach is used to examine the frequency of symptoms associated with menopause. Symptom frequencies are examined in relation to past menstrual symptom experience and the timing of reproductive events. Data were drawn from a cross-sectional community survey carried out in Greene County, New York. The symptoms most often reported were hot flashes, irritability, mood changes, sweating, and headaches. Frequencies of vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes, sweating) were highly correlated. Frequencies of psychological symptoms (irritability, mood change) were also highly correlated. Neither vasomotor nor psychological symptoms were associated with parity, age at menarche, or ages at first and last childbirth. Frequency of hot flashes was significantly associated with post-menopause status, later age at natural menopause, and fewer years of education. In contrast, frequency of psychological symptoms was not related to menopause status, age at natural menopause, or years of education. Menstrual abdominal cramps and leg cramping were associated with hot flash frequency at menopause, but not frequency of menopausal mood change. In contrast, menstrual bloating and mood changes were associated with menopausal irritability and mood change. Self-reported vasomotor and psychological symptoms demonstrated dissimilar relationships to lifespan events. It is difficult to determine, however, which dimension of the lifespan (biological, sociocultural, or psychological) is involved in determining differences in menopansal symptom frequencies.
- reproductive experience
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/lynnette_sievert/75/