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Physical, psychological, and menopause-related symptoms and minor psychiatric disorders in a community-based sample of Brazilian premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal women

Oppermann, Karen MD, PhD1,2; Fuchs, Sandra C. MD, PhD3; Donato, Giovana MD1; Bastos, Carlos A. MD1; Spritzer, Poli Mara MD, PhD4,5

Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society: March 2012 - Volume 19 - Issue 3 - p 355–360
doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e31822ba026
Original Articles
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Objective The aim of this study was to identify the prevalence of physical, psychological, and menopause-related symptoms and their association with minor psychiatric disorders in premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal women.

Methods This was a nested cross-sectional study. Demographic characteristics, education, and climacteric symptoms were investigated. The 20-item Self-Reporting Questionnaire was used to screen for minor psychiatric disorders, with a score of 8 or higher indicating positive screening.

Results We studied 324 Brazilian women aged 36 to 62 years (86 premenopausal women, 156 perimenopausal women, and 82 postmenopausal women). Mean (SD) age was 44.8 (3.6), 46.3 (4.6), and 53.3 (3.8) years, respectively (P < 0.001); 52.4% had 8 years or less of schooling (whereas 22.8% had 4 years or less). Forty-five (28.8%) perimenopausal women and 32 (39%) postmenopausal women were users of hormone therapy; 15 (17.4%) and 21 (13.5%) premenopausal and perimenopausal participants, respectively, were users of oral contraceptives. Hormone therapy and oral contraceptive users were excluded from the analysis of symptom prevalence. Hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness were more prevalent among perimenopausal women (P < 0.001). Fatigue was the most frequent complaint in all groups (61%, 81%, and 88% in premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal women, respectively). The variables most frequently associated with positive findings during the screening for minor psychiatric disorders were very low education level and memory loss and irritability. Classic vasomotor complaints were weakly associated with nonpsychotic disease. In turn, perimenopausal women, but not postmenopausal women, were at greater risk of minor psychiatric disorders.

Conclusions Low education level, memory loss, irritability, and the menopausal transition represent risk factors for positive findings in a screening for minor psychiatric disorders.

This study identified the prevalence of physical, psychological, and menopause-related symptoms and their association with minor psychiatric disorders in a community-based sample of Brazilian premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal women.

From the 1Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, School of Medicine, Universidade de Passo Fundo, Passo Fundo, Brazil; 2Menopause and Endocrinological Gynecology Unit, Hospital São Vicente de Paulo, Passo Fundo, Brazil; 3Department of Social Medicine, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil; 4Gynecological Endocrinology Unit, Division of Endocrinology, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, Brazil; and 5Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, Department of Physiology, UFRGS, Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Received March 26, 2011; revised and accepted June 29, 2011.

Funding/support: This study was supported by National Institute of Hormones and Women’s Health, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Brazil.

The funding source had no involvement in the study design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; writing of the report; or decision to submit the article for publication.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Karen Oppermann, MD, PhD, Rua Teixeira Soares, 885/704, Passo Fundo, RS, Brazil 99010-081. E-mail: karenoppermann@gmail.com

©2012The North American Menopause Society