Objective: The aims of this study were to identify groups of symptoms experienced by women during midlife and to determine the main profiles or trajectories for each of these symptom groups through the menopausal transition.
Methods: The study uses data from the middle-aged cohort of women from a large community-based longitudinal study. Groups or patterns of symptoms are determined using factor analysis. Latent class analysis based on age and age at menopause is used to identify profiles for each of the symptom patterns.
Results: Of the four symptom patterns identified, “somatic,” “urogynecological,” and “physical” symptoms have a constant profile through midlife. Vasomotor symptoms vary through menopause: 11% of women have the “early severe” profile of symptoms that begin at premenopause, whereas 29% have the “late severe” profile, with symptoms peaking during postmenopause and persisting more than a decade after menopause. The remaining women with the “moderate” or “mild” profiles report occasional symptoms that tend to peak around menopause.
Conclusions: Identifying the profile of vasomotor symptoms could help health professionals to tailor their advice to women going through menopause.