Relation of Demographic and Lifestyle Factors to Symptoms in a Multi-Racial/Ethnic Population of Women 40-55 Years of Age

These results suggest that lifestyle, menstrual status, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status affect symptoms in this age group

E. B. Gold

2002

Scholarcy highlights

  • By the year 2025, the number of postmenopausal women in the United States is projected to double from the mid1990s, with half a million women added annually to the midlife population for the rest of this decade
  • We investigated the relation of sociodemographic and lifestyle factors to a number of specific symptoms or conditions in a large, multiethnic, community-based sample of women from across the United States who participated in the first phase of the Study of Women’s Health across the Nation
  • We hypothesized that: 1) vasomotor and other estrogen-related symptoms would be more frequently associated with factors that result in decreased production of estrogen, such as surgical menopause, smoking, reduced body mass, and physical activity; 2) prevalence of non-estrogen-related symptoms would increase with age, independent of menopausal status; and 3) factors resulting in physiologic, economic, or social stress would be associated with increased symptomatology but that the prevalence of specific symptoms would differ by race/ethnicity
  • We found significant independent effects of age, educational level, difficulty paying for basics, race/ethnicity, body mass, smoking, physical activity, and menstrual status on the prevalence of vasomotor and other physical symptoms
  • The results of the SWAN cross-sectional survey indicate that a number of potentially modifiable factors affect symptom reporting
  • Overweight was associated with hot flashes/night sweats, urine leakage, and stiffness or soreness
  • Our results show that most indicators of low socioeconomic status, low educational level and difficulty paying for basics, were associated with significantly increased reporting of almost all symptoms

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