Article

Quality of Life Research

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 535-544

The impact of menopause on health-related quality of life: results from the STRIDE longitudinal study

  • Rachel HessAffiliated withDivision of General Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of MedicineCenter for Research on Health Care, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Email author 
  • , Rebecca C. ThurstonAffiliated withWestern Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • , Ron D. HaysAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, The David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California
  • , Chung-Chou H. ChangAffiliated withDivision of General Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of MedicineCenter for Research on Health Care, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • , Stacey N. DillonAffiliated withDivision of General Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • , Roberta B. NessAffiliated withUniversity of Texas School of Public Health
  • , Cindy L. BryceAffiliated withDivision of General Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of MedicineCenter for Research on Health Care, University of Pittsburgh School of MedicineDepartment of Health Policy and Management, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh
  • , Wishwa N. KapoorAffiliated withDivision of General Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of MedicineCenter for Research on Health Care, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • , Karen A. MatthewsAffiliated withWestern Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

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Abstract

Purpose

We examine the impact of menopausal status, beyond menopausal symptoms, on health-related quality of life (HRQoL).

Methods

Seven hundred thirty-two women aged 40–65, regardless of health condition or menopausal status, were enrolled from single general internal medicine practice. Women completed annual questionnaires including HRQoL, and menopausal status and symptoms.

Results

The physical health composite of the RAND-36 is lower in late peri (45.6, P < .05), early post (45.4, P < .05), and late postmenopausal women (44.6, P < .01), and those who report a hysterectomy (44.2, P < .01) compared to premenopausal women (47.1), with effect sizes of Cohen’s d = .12-.23. The mental health composite of the RAND-36 is lower in late peri (44.7, P < .01), early post (44.9, P < .01), and late postmenopausal women (45.0, P < .05) and those who report a hysterectomy (44.2, P < .01) compared to premenopausal women (46.8), with effect sizes of Cohen’s d = .15–.20. Findings are comparable adjusted for menopausal symptom frequency and bother.

Conclusions

Over a 5-year follow-up period, we found a negative impact of menopause on some domains of HRQoL, regardless of menopausal symptoms. Clinicians should be aware of this relationship and work to improve HRQoL, rather than expect it to improve spontaneously when menopausal symptoms resolve.

Keywords

Menopause Health-related quality of life Hot flashes Vaginal dryness Women’s health