Objective: This study aims to determine whether the severity of physical symptoms experienced during perimenopause can be predicted by physical symptoms experienced during past reproductive events (ie, symptoms experienced during pregnancy, the postpartum period, the premenstrual phase, and hormonal contraceptive use).
Methods: Two hundred ninety perimenopausal and postmenopausal women completed a series of questionnaires pertaining to their menopausal symptoms and the severity of both physical and emotional symptoms experienced during past reproductive events.
Results: The severity of some physical symptoms experienced during past reproductive events predicted the severity of menopausal physical symptoms. Some symptoms experienced during the premenstrual phase (ie, pain, lack of concentration, and water retention) and physical symptoms experienced during pregnancy were the best unique predictors of menopausal physical symptoms.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that women with a history of more severe physical symptoms during periods of both low (ie, premenstrual phase) and high (ie, pregnancy) hormone exposure are at greatest risk for experiencing severe physical symptoms during the perimenopausal transition.