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Maturitas. 1999 Dec 15;33(3):219-27.

Menopausal symptoms and symptom clustering in Chinese women.

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  • 1Department of Community and Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Lek Yuen Health Centre, Shatin, NT.



this paper aims to report the prevalence of symptoms in the Hong Kong Chinese perimenopausal women; to construct reported symptoms into symptom groupings; and to clarify whether the symptom groups are associated with menopausal status.


a random telephone survey of perimenopausal women aged 44-55 years was conducted in 1996. Eligible subjects were identified through telephone dialing of a random sample of the numbers listed in the residents' telephone directory. Standardized questionnaire, including a 22-item symptom check list, was administered over the telephone. The principal component analysis method followed by varimax rotation was used to examine the relations among the symptoms.


differences in the prevalence of menstrual problems across the menopausal status were noted with perimenopausal women having the most complaints. Musculoskeletal conditions were the top complaints reported by the respondents, followed by headaches and psychological symptoms. About 10% of the women complained of hot flushes, and less than 5% of cold sweats. Five symptom clusters, namely psychological, musculoskeletal/gastrointestinal, non-specific somatic, respiratory, and vasomotor, have been identified. After adjustment for age, the analysis of variance showed that psychological, non-specific somatic and vasomotor symptoms were significantly associated with menopausal status, while musculoskeletal and respiratory were of borderline statistical significance.


compared with pre- and post-menopausal women, perimenopausal women had the highest reports of symptom complaints. Musculoskeletal complaints were the most prevalent complaints, followed by psychological symptoms. While vasomotor symptoms were significantly associated with menopausal status, their prevalence was comparatively lower than that reported in Caucasian populations.

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