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Symptoms at postmenopause: genetic and psychosocial factors

Aguilar-Zavala, Herlinda PhD1; Pérez-Luque, Elva L. PhD1; Luna-Martínez, Francisco PhD2; Bassol-Mayagoitia, Susana MD, PhD3; Canto-de-Cetina, Thelma MD, PhD4; López-Conesa, Maillil MD3; Malacara, Juan M. MD, PhD1

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3182503bde
Original Articles

Objective Menopause symptoms result from the interaction of estrogen deprivation, psychosocial influences, and genetic factors. We examined the influence of stress and of estrogen receptor-α (ER-α; PvuII and XbaI) and serotonin transporter (5-HTT) polymorphisms on symptoms at postmenopause.

Methods We studied 290 urban women from three cities in Mexico. General characteristics, menopause symptoms, and scores of perceived stress, effort-reward imbalance, dominance, and submission were collected. A fasting blood sample was obtained for hormone measurements and genotypification.

Results Women had a mean ± SD age of 54.4 ± 4.5 years and BMI of 29.5 ± 4.9 kg/m2. The frequency of hot flashes was 75.5%; vaginal dryness, 57.8%; and diminished sexual interest, 78.7%. Follicle-stimulating hormone and estradiol levels were 59 ± 27 mIU/mL and 22 ± 29 pg/mL, respectively. Women from Torreón had higher schooling and less parity but higher scores for depression and lower submission. Hot flashes were more frequent in women from León. Genotype distribution was similar among cities. Lower scores for dominance were found in women with the pp and xx ER-α genotypes. Increased smoking habit was found for the SS genotype of 5-HTT. Factors significantly associated with symptoms were years since menopause, with hot flashes (negative), and with diminished sexual interest (positive); dominance was negatively associated with depression, perceived stress, and vaginal dryness; submission was positively associated with depression, perceived stress, anxiety, and hot flashes; and effort-reward imbalance was positively associated with anxiety, hot flashes, and perceived stress.

Conclusions Symptoms at postmenopause were associated mainly with dominance, submission, and effort-reward imbalance. The pp genotype of ER-α showed lower scores of dominance.

From the 1Departamento de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad de Guanajuato Campus León, León Guanajuato, Mexico; 2Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Avanzados, IPN, Unidad Irapuato, Irapuato Guanajuato, Mexico; 3Departamento de Biología de la Reproducción, Centro de Investigación Biomédica, Facultad de Medicina de Torreón, Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila, Torreón Coahuila, Mexico; and 4Centro de Investigaciones Regionales Dr. Hideyo Noguchi, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida Yucatán, Mexico.

Received December 19, 2011; revised and accepted February 14, 2012.

Funding/support: This work was supported through institutional funds (Universities of Guanajuato, Coahuila, and Yucatán).

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Juan M. Malacara, MD, PhD, 20 de Enero 929, Col Obregón, León Gto, México 37320. E-mail:

©2012The North American Menopause Society