To gain insight into the characteristics and current status of climacteric symptoms reported by middle-aged and older women in Japan, we surveyed women presenting at our menopause clinic.
The participants included 1,069 women, ranging in age from 40 to less than 60 years (mean age, 50.2 y). Climacteric (indefinite) symptoms were objectively assessed with the use of the Keio questionnaire, which grades the severity of 40 types of symptoms classified into 20 subgroups. The total scores obtained for the 40 symptoms were used to calculate symptom prevalence and severity. To evaluate ovarian function, concentrations of estradiol and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in sera were measured.
The most frequent symptom was general fatigue, reported by 88.2% of the women. Shoulder stiffness was the symptom rated to be severe by the highest percentage of women (38.1%). The prevalence and severity of hot flushes (and sweats) were slightly higher in perimenopausal and early postmenopausal women than in premenopausal and late postmenopausal women. The prevalence and severity of hot flushes and sweats were higher in women with estradiol < 25 pg/mL and FSH > 40 mIU/mL than in those with estradiol ≥ 25 pg/mL and FSH ≤ 40 mIU/mL.
General fatigue and shoulder stiffness, symptoms with low hormone dependence, are the two most frequent climacteric symptoms in our clinic. Hot flushes and sweats, symptoms with high hormone dependence, are also common symptoms.