Mental Health and Quality of Life in Postmenopausal Women as a Function of Retrospective Menopause Symptom Severity
Objectives: Perimenopause is commonly viewed as a window of vulnerability for developing psychiatric and eating disorders, especially for women who experience severe symptoms. However, menopausal symptoms may have a lasting effect on older women's mental health and quality of life (QOL) into postmenopause. The current study examined older (60+) postmenopausal women's mental health and QOL as a function of retrospective menopausal symptom severity.
Methods: Participants were recruited via public online postings and included 227 postmenopausal women, ages 60 to 94years old (M = 68.84, SD = 6.53). Participants completed an online questionnaire to assess past menopausal symptoms as well as current depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, binge eating, QOL, and demographics. The relation between the retrospective severity of menopausal symptoms and mental health/QOL was evaluated using linear regressions, while controlling for demographic covariates.
Results: Retrospective menopause symptom severity was significantly associated with depression, sleep difficulties, binge eating severity, and most QOL measures. Regarding covariates, having a psychiatric history was significantly associated with all outcome variables, except for anxiety. Time since menopause and body mass index were significantly associated with binge eating severity. Regarding specific symptom subgroups, psychological and somato-vegetative symptoms were most associated with mental health and QOL.
Conclusion: The menopausal transition is a significant change in a woman's life and the challenges of menopausal symptoms can have lasting impacts on women's health. It is imperative that future research seeks to further understand the lasting impacts of this transition on the lives of older women to ensure proper interventions are implemented for successful aging.
Hooper, S. C., Marshall, V. B., Becker, C. B., LaCroix, A. Z., Keel, P. K., & Kilpela, L. S. (2022). Mental health and quality of life in postmenopausal women as a function of retrospective menopause symptom severity. Menopause, 29(6), 707-713. http://doi.org/10.1097/GME.0000000000001961