More Than Hot Flashes

Menopause comes with unique symptoms among women with other health problems

(RxWiki News) Hot flashes are a biggie among middle-aged women. But common effects of menopause can differ around the world. New research has identified a number of different symptoms among menopausal women with osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.

This research indicates health professionals should view menopause in new light.

Study participants with cardiovascular disease reported having more psychosomatic and overall severe symptoms at midlife than the healthy group. These symptoms include aches and pains, forgetfulness, vision trouble, tiredness and neck pain.

"Talk to your OB/GYN about menopause treatment options."

The study, led by Hui-Ling Wang, RN, from the Institute of Allied Health Science, College of Medicine at National Cheng Kung University, surveyed women's attitudes towards menopause, their level of depression and what symptoms they had at midlife.

Researchers looked specifically at 500 Taiwanese women with either osteoporosis or cardiovascular disease who were recruited from a residential community and medical center in southern Taiwan. Those who had both health conditions were excluded.

The women ranged between 45 and 60 years of age and were compared to women in good health. They were also asked about their health habits in general and their demographics. Questions covered six categories, including the recovery process after menopause, feelings of negativity and psychological losses and sexuality.

Researchers found that women's symptoms are affected by a number of things:

  • age
  • number of children
  • educational level
  • family income
  • employment status
  • number of minutes spent exercising per session
  • daily cigarette consumption and number of years spent smoking

The cardiovascular patients also had more stomach and blood vessel problems compared to women with osteoporosis or women who were healthy. Women with cardiovascular disease also felt more depressed than the osteoporosis group. And the attitudes towards menopause for both groups were the same.

The researchers recommend that doctors tailor each patient's treatment to fit her needs.

"The results of this study help to increase the understanding of the diversity of menopausal experiences and may assist healthcare professionals in developing appropriate care strategies," the authors wrote in their report.

The authors note their results may not be generalized to the rest of the population since participants were gathered from one place. Participants may also have been grouped incorrectly since they reported their own diagnoses.

The National Science Council in Taiwan funded the study, which was published online November 12 in the journal Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society. The authors did not have any conflicts of interest to report. 

Review Date: 
November 25, 2012