The aim of the present study was to determine age at menopause and the prevalence of menopausal symptoms among women in a community in Babol, Iran, and then identify the factors associated with these symptoms and age.
A retrospective, descriptive, epidemiological study was conducted on the characteristics of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. A total of 1,397 individuals aged 45 to 63 years were selected using a standard cluster sampling technique. The questionnaire used included menopausal symptoms, menopause status, causes of menopause, use of hormones, reproductive history, and sociodemographic factors. A standard questionnaire named Symptom ScoreCard was used to assess the frequency and severity of menopausal symptoms. The data were analyzed by χ2 analysis, t test, analysis of variance, and adjusted odds ratios with their 95% CIs.
Recalled mean ± SD age at natural menopause was 47.7 ± 4.9 years. No significant difference by age at menopause was observed in sociodemographic data, smoking status, reproductive history, and oral contraceptive use. The most prevalent symptoms were irritability (72.1%), joint pain (70.6%), and depression (59.7%) during the previous 2 weeks. An increase in the percentage of occurrence and severity of some symptoms with transition to menopause was observed. The total score for menopausal symptoms was 13.0 ± 7.7. High economic situation (odds ratio, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.37-2.58) was a factor significantly associated with a total menopausal score of higher than 15.
This study shows a high prevalence of menopausal symptoms and an earlier mean age at menopause (47.7 y) for women in a community in Babol, Iran. It would be beneficial to establish a menopausal clinic in primary healthcare centers for the clinical staff to monitor postmenopausal women.