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Migration and symptom reporting at menopause: a comparative survey of migrant women from Turkey in Berlin, German women in Berlin, and women in Istanbul

Boral, Şengül MD, MScPH1; Borde, Theda MPH, PhD2; Kentenich, Heribert MD, PhD3; Wernecke, Klaus D. PhD4,5; David, Matthias MD, PhD6

Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society: February 2013 - Volume 20 - Issue 2 - p 169–178
doi: 10.1097/GME.0b013e3182698827
Original Articles

Objective The goal of this study was to compare perceptions of menopausal symptoms among migrant women from Turkey in Berlin (TB), German women in Berlin (GB), and women in Istanbul (TI). The aim was to analyze findings in light of the possible influences of sociodemographic, psychosocial, and migration-related aspects.

Methods The study participants (aged 45-60 y) were recruited via random and snowball sampling and surveyed with a structured questionnaire in the German and Turkish languages, which contained questions about their experiences with the menopausal phase and related symptoms (Menopause Rating Scale II), menopausal hormone therapy, and sociodemographic, psychosocial, and migration-related aspects. Statistical analysis was performed with univariate Fisher’s exact test, factor analysis, and multivariate logistic regression.

Results A total of 963 women participated in the study. Premenopausal/perimenopausal migrant women from Turkey in Berlin most frequently reported severe vegetative complaints (TB, 49.9%; GB, 34.9%; TI, 34.9%) and genital complaints (TB, 39.2%; GB, 32.3%; TI, 29.4%), as defined by factor analysis. In postmenopausal migrant women from Turkey in Berlin, the most frequently reported symptoms belonged to the domain of psychological complaints (TB, 52.7% vs GB, 24.0%; TI, 55.7%). Gradual multivariate logistic regression revealed sociodemographic and health-related risk factors as predictive factors for the defined menopausal complaints.

Conclusions Migration-related factors might be decisive for women’s experience of menopause. Improvement of population-tailored access to factual information about menopause and treatment options is an area of great potential to support women in this phase.

From the 1Institute of Pathology, University Hospital Charité, Berlin, Germany; 2Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences, Berlin, Germany;3Fertility Center Berlin, Berlin, Germany; 4SOSTANA GmbH, Berlin, Germany; 5University Hospital Charité, Berlin, Germany; and 6Department of Gynecology, Campus Virchow Clinic, University Hospital Charité, Berlin, Germany.

Received March 22, 2012; revised and accepted June 6, 2012.

Funding/support: This work was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (grant 01 KH 04 03).

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Şengül Boral, MD, MScPH, Institute of Pathology, University Hospital Charité, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany. E-mail:

© 2013 by The North American Menopause Society.