April 22, 2008 -- New research shows that women in early menopause report that lack of sleep is their biggest problem.
Researchers interviewed 110 women. All were healthy white women between the ages of 43 and 55 with an average age of 49. They all had experienced their last menstrual period within the last three years.
The respondents were asked if they had a certain symptom during the past week and if so to rate how severe it was.
The survey showed that:
94.5% had difficulty sleeping
92% felt forgetful
83% had hot flashes
87% experienced irritability
85.5% had night sweats
The most severe symptoms among the participants were trouble sleeping, night sweats, and irritability.
The respondents said they were less affected by day sweats, depressed mood, vaginal dryness, and breakthrough bleeding.
Researcher Judith A. Berg, PhD, says in a news release that "our study looked at women who were relatively young and the time lapse since their last period was shorter than in a number of previous studies. It is known that hot flashes or flushes increase as the menopause progresses and emerging data suggests that other symptoms are more severe in the earlier stages."
The researchers say only highly symptomatic women were recruited and they may not reflect the general population. Also, only white women were involved in order to isolate any cultural differences in how symptoms are perceived.
The findings appear in the April issue of Journal of Clinical Nursing.