A Population Based Study on the Menopausal Symptoms in a Rural Area of Tamil Nadu, India 597-601
Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine,
Saveetha Medical College, Thandalam,
Kanchipuram district,Tamilnadu, India.
Context: Menopause, a natural step in the aging process, represents the end of menstruation after the last menstrual period in the previous 12 months. It occurs gradually in women and it indicates the transition from the reproductive to the postproductive era of a women’s life. It is a condition which every woman faces in later life and it can have many associated effects which may disrupt the quality of life (1).
Aims: (1) To estimate the prevalence of the following menopausal
symptoms: (a) Vasomotor symptoms – hot flushes and sweating (b) Psychological symptoms – depressive mood, anxiety, irritability and sleep related symptoms (c) Urinary symptoms – burning sensation, difficulty in holding urine, increased frequency of urination (d) Joint pain. (2) To assess the extent of the treatment which was availed to treat the menopausal symptoms.
Settings and Design: The rural population in the Poonamallee block of the Tiruvallur district of Tamilnadu; a cross sectional study.
Methods and Materials: This study was conducted on a rural population in the Poonamallee block of the Tiruvallur district in Tamilnadu. The study population included all the women who had attained natural menopause and those who had their last menstrual bleeding at least one year prior to the data collection. The cluster sampling method was adopted and 30 clusters were randomly selected by the Probability Proportionate to Size (PPS) method. A structured questionnaire was used to collect the information regarding the background characteristics, the obstetrical history, the menopausal history and the menopausal symptoms of the women.
Statistical Analysis: The data entry and analysis was done by using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS), version 15 software. The descriptive statistics were calculated for the background variables and for the prevalence of the selected post-menopausal symptoms. Also, a 95% confidence interval was calculated for the prevalence of the post-menopausal symptoms.
Results: A total of 780 post-menopausal women were enrolled in the study. The mean age of the study participants was 50.20 years. The mean age at menopause was 44.49 years and median age was 44 years. The overall prevalence of any one symptom during the post-menopausal period among the study participants was 88.1% (95%CI: 85.8-90.3). Among the post-menopausal symptoms, the most frequently reported ones were vasomotor symptoms (60.9%), followed by sleep related symptoms (40.1%) and anxiety (35.4%). Only 46% of the post-menopausal women who had any one symptom had taken treatment. The reasons for not taking treatment for the menopausal symptoms among the study participants were mainly their financial constraints (56.1%) and family problems (35.2%).
Conclusion: Menopause, an important stage within the continuum of the health in a women’s life, has gained a lot of attention since the last century. It is more so in the light of the increasing longevity of women in the present years. In this study, a majority of the women (88.1%) reported one or more post-menopausal symptom. The presence of post-menopausal symptoms may decrease the health related quality of life in women, because a majority of them still do not take any treatment for these symptoms. The health care services should pay more attention towards the women’s health in the post-menopausal period also and the use of appropriate therapy like hormone replacement therapy should be encouraged whenever required.