Research Article| Volume 14, ISSUE 2, P127-141, January 1992

Influences of natural menopause on health complaints: A prospective study of healthy Norwegian women

  • Arne Holte
    Correspondence to: A. Holte, Department of Behavioural Sciences in Medicine, University of Oslo. P.O. Box 1111, Blindern, N-0317 Oslo 3, Norway
    Department of Behavioural Sciences in Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
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      As a continuation of a cross-sectional study in 1981 involving a representative sample of 1886 women between 45 and 55 years of age, 200 pre-menopausal subjects were selected randomly to take part in a follow-up study. Eighty-seven single measures covering 26 areas of health complaints which have been associated with the menopause in medical textbooks were investigated. A tentative method for relating health complaints at several time points to menopausal status is proposed. A significant number of women reported an increase in vasomotor complaints, vaginal dryness, heart palpitations and social dysfunction following the menopause, although many reported no change or even a reduction in these complaints. On the other hand, a decrease in headache and breast tenderness was noted. No significant differences were observed between the numbers of women reporting an increase or a decrease respectively on any of the other 69 measures (20 complaints), which included anxiety, depression and irritability. Further analyses indicated that the increase in social dysfunction was caused by hot flushes and sweating. This paper raises a number of issues regarding the methodology of longitudinal studies.


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