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Menopause. 2004 Mar-Apr;11(2):223-7.

Age and symptom experience at menopause in the Selska Valley, Slovenia.

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Department of Anthropology and the University Without Walls, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003-9278, USA.



To assess age and symptom experience at menopause in a high-altitude population in the Selska Valley of Slovenia.


In four mountain villages, all houses were approached and 80% of eligible residents were interviewed. Additional women were interviewed for comparison in the valley below. Age at interview ranged from 32.7 to 85.5 years, with a mean of 58.2 years. The majority of women (62%) were aged 40 to 65 years.


Of the 58 women interviewed, 7 had undergone menopause by hysterectomy (12%). Recalled age at natural menopause ranged from 42 to 54, with a mean of 50.3 (SD 2.9). By probit analysis, median age at natural menopause was 52.03. Fifty-five percent of participants reported ever having experienced a hot flash, although only 24% reported hot flashes during the 2 weeks before being interviewed. When the sample was limited to women aged 40 to 65, frequency of hot flashes in the 2 weeks before the interview was 39%. For all participants, the most frequent complaint was lack of energy (66%), followed by backaches (59%), and joint stiffness (53%).


In contrast to expectations, age at menopause was not earlier and hot flash frequency was not significantly lower at higher elevations.

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