Research Article

Study of symptoms in middle life with special reference to the menopause.

Br Med J 1980; 281 doi: (Published 19 July 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;281:181
  1. G T Bungay,
  2. M P Vessey,
  3. C K McPherson


    In an attempt to clarify the nature of the "menopausal syndrome" a survey of symptoms was carried out by means of postal questionnaires in a population sample of 1120 women and 510 men. Special care was taken to avoid letting the participants know that the survey was mainly concerned with the menopause. Response rates were 72% for women and 68% for men. Analysis of patterns of symptoms by age and sex showed that peaks of prevalence of flushing and sweating were closely associated with the mean age of menopause, coinciding with it or occurring a little after it. Less impressive peaks of prevalence of a group of minor mental symptoms were associated with an age just preceding the mean age of menopause. Complaints about aching breasts, irritability, and low backache diminished after the menopause. No association with the menopause was found for various other symptoms. The results of this study support the view that the menopausal syndrome exists but do not, of course, provide any evidence concerning the effectiveness (or safety) of hormone treatment.