Editorials

Can the severity of menopausal symptoms be predicted?

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d7664 (Published 08 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:d7664
  1. Susan Davis, chair of women’s health
  1. 1Monash University, Melbourne, VIC 3121, Australia
  1. susan.davis{at}monash.edu

Relatively asymptomatic women at menopause will probably remain so, but those with symptoms are likely to have them for several years

Women with severe menopausal symptoms may ask their doctor how long their symptoms, particularly hot flushes and night sweats, are likely to last. To date, doctors have been able to advise only that most women’s symptoms will resolve within a few years of their final menstrual period, but that a small proportion will have vasomotor symptoms into their 70s and 80s.1 This is of little comfort to the woman experiencing night sweats, sleep deprivation, and mood changes in her late 40s.

In the linked cohort study (doi:10.1136/bmj.e402), Mishra and Kuh used annual responses to the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development from women around the years of their natural menopause to create symptom profiles and track their trajectories across the menopause.2 Will these observations enable clinicians to make better predictions about what patients should expect as they transit the menopause? The answer is yes, but …

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