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Menopause. 1999 Summer;6(2):122-8.

The North American Menopause Society 1998 Menopause Survey. Part I: Postmenopausal women's perceptions about menopause and midlife.

Author information

1
Department of Reproductive Biology, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To collect information relevant to the mission of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS)--i.e., increasing understanding of menopause--by assessing perceptions held by postmenopausal women in the United States aged 50 to 65 years regarding their menopause transition and early postmenopausal years.

DESIGN:

During the period from June to July 1998, The Gallup Organization conducted 752 telephone interviews with a randomly selected sample of postmenopausal women aged 50 to 65 years from across the United States, based on questions developed by NAMS. In Part I of this survey, women were asked about their personal experiences with menopause, their health-related lifestyle changes since premenopause, their frequency of discussing menopause, and their rating of preparedness for menopause. Part II of this survey, including use of hormone replacement therapy as well as use of healthcare services, will be reported in a future communication from NAMS.

RESULTS:

The majority (51%) of the postmenopausal women surveyed reported being happiest and most fulfilled between the ages of 50 to 65 years, compared with when they were in their 20s (10%), 30s (17%), or 40s (16%). Many areas of their lives had improved since menopause, including family/home life, sense of personal fulfillment, ability to focus on hobbies or other interests, relationship with spouse/partner, and friendships. A majority (51%) said their sexual relationships had remained unchanged. Approximately three-quarters of women surveyed reported making some type of health-related lifestyle change, such as stopping smoking, at menopause/midlife. Women who had undergone hysterectomy expressed more improvement than women with an intact uterus, especially in the areas of sexual relationships, spouse/partner relationships, personal fulfillment, and physical health; data are not available regarding the health state of these women before surgery or whether they experienced surgical menopause, but this improvement did not appear to be the result of hormone replacement therapy. Women tended to look to women from their own generation for menopause-related information and believed that they have prepared the younger generation for menopause better than they were prepared by their mothers' generation. Those surveyed advised younger women to engage in healthful activities and become knowledgeable so that they could make informed health decisions.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although the postmenopausal women surveyed had differing views of menopause as well as their perceptions of postmenopause compared with premenopause, the majority viewed menopause and midlife as the beginning of many positive changes in their lives and health. Hysterectomy was a factor associated with improved sexual relationships, spouse/partner relationships, sense of personal fulfillment, and physical health.

PMID:
10374218
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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