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J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 1998 Sep;19(3):165-73.

Menopausal status: subjectively and objectively defined.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Carlton, Victoria, Australia.


This study aims to assess the relationship between self-rated and menstrually defined menopausal status, assesses criteria women use in perceiving their own menopausal status and compares symptom reporting and hormonal levels for self-rated and menstrually defined menopausal status. Women in the third year of the longitudinal phase of the Melbourne Women's Midlife Health Project (n = 332) were asked to assess their own menopausal status and the basis for this assessment. They were also specifically questioned on current menstrual cycle characteristics and levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol and inhibin were measured. For 67% of the women, the two definitions of menopausal status were in agreement. In women menstrually defined as premenopausal, self-rated menopausal status of peri- or postmenopausal appeared to be based on the occurrence of symptoms. In women menstrually defined as postmenopausal, persistence of hot flushes was taken to mean that 'the menopause was still in progress' despite absence of menses for more than 12 months. In women menstrually defined as perimenopausal yet who self-rated as premenopausal, FSH was lower (p < 0.01) and inhibin higher (p = 0.05) than women who self-rated as peri- or postmenopausal. Women's perceptions of the menopause are based on symptoms. Self-rated menopausal status appears to relate more closely to a women's endocrine status than definitions based on purely menstrual cycle characteristics.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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