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Assessment of the climacteric syndrome: a narrative review

Abstract

Purpose

Many menopausal women suffer from a variety of estrogen deficiency-related symptoms and chronic medical conditions. Health care professionals should be able to identify and quantify symptoms to facilitate diagnosis, indicate and monitor treatment. Therefore, various questionnaires have been developed and are used as a simple, time-saving and cost-effective mean to assess and monitor menopausal complaints. The aim of this review is to provide an overview and comparison of the available tools for climacteric syndrome assessment.

Methods

Three electronic databases (Pubmed, EMBASE and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews/CDRS) were searched covering a time period of 10 years using a combination of relevant controlled vocabulary terms and free-text terms. Relevant references were evaluated for inclusion in a stepwise approach.

Results

The literature research revealed four questionnaires (Kupperman Index, Menopause Rating Scale, Menopause Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire and Greene Climacteric Scale) that are used to holistically assess the climacteric syndrome, varying in type of assessment, included symptoms, rating system of severity, weighing of symptoms, resulting total rating score and validation status. Further questionnaires are available to assess single symptoms or group of symptoms relating to specific aspects of menopause (e.g., vasomotor symptoms, insomnia, etc.).

Conclusion

Four holistic questionnaires addressing menopausal symptoms have been developed [KI, MRS, MENQOL (-Intervention), Greene Climacteric Scale]. All but one (KI) have been validated and are available in different languages. However, there are still several shortcomings such as the lack of recognition of ethnic and cultural background and missing thresholds for treatment initiation and monitoring.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Ms. Beritan Polat for her support as a secretary.

Funding

This research did not receive any specific Grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Contributions

MS: investigation, writing the original draft, visualization. MZ: review and editing, supervision of MS. LH: methodology, investigation, data curation. DF: review and editing. PS: conceptualization, methodology, resourced, writing—review and editing, supervision of MS, LH and MZ.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Petra Stute.

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Sourouni, M., Zangger, M., Honermann, L. et al. Assessment of the climacteric syndrome: a narrative review. Arch Gynecol Obstet 304, 855–862 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00404-021-06139-y

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Keywords

  • Menopause
  • Climacteric syndrome
  • Symptom assessment
  • Review