Objective: Because premenstrual symptoms in fertile age resemble menopausal symptoms, many women with premenstrual symptoms fear that they have an increased risk for developing vasomotor symptoms in menopause. We investigated the impact of premenstrual symptoms on the occurrence and severity of menopausal vasomotor symptoms and quality of life.
Methods: One hundred fifty recently postmenopausal healthy women recorded hot flashes prospectively (23, none; 34, mild; 30, moderate; 63, severe), and their quality of life was assessed using the Women’s Health Questionnaire. We measured the occurrence of premenstrual symptoms in fertile age using the Premenstrual Symptoms Screening Tool and calculated a premenstrual score reflecting symptom severity.
Results: One hundred seven women (89.2%) reported premenstrual symptoms (median score, 7.0; range, 0-38), which had impaired work efficiency or social relations in 64 women (53.3%). The occurrence of premenstrual symptoms was similar in women with and without hot flashes of different magnitudes, as the mean (SEM) premenstrual score was 7.8 (1.4) for no hot flashes, 5.0 (1.0) for mild hot flashes, 7.7 (1.3) for moderate hot flashes, and 9.4 (1.2) for severe hot flashes (P = 0.10). The severity of premenstrual symptoms failed to correlate with the severity of postmenopausal hot flashes (r = 0.087, P = 0.346). A history of premenstrual symptoms was associated with impaired memory and concentration capacity (r = −0.448, P < 0.001), depressive mood (r = −0.263, P = 0.02), sleep problems (r = −0.282, P = 0.01), and feeling less attractive (r = −0.260, P = 0.02) during the first menopausal years.
Conclusions: The occurrence of premenstrual symptoms in fertile age is associated with impaired quality of life, but not hot flashes, in recently postmenopausal women.