Impact of menopause on the manifestation and severity of sleep-disordered breathing

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2006;85(11):1381-8. doi: 10.1080/00016340600935649.


Background: Decreased production of female hormones might explain the increased prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing in postmenopausal women.

Objectives: We evaluated, whether menopause has an impact on the manifestation of sleep-disordered breathing in terms of signs, symptoms, and breathing pattern.

Methods: The study was a cross-sectional study utilizing a patient database, hospital records, sleep studies, and questionnaires. The hospital records and sleep studies were reviewed in 601 consecutive women studied between 1994 and 1998 in a university hospital pulmonary clinic. The records were completed with questionnaires.

Results: Nocturnal breathing abnormalities covered a greater proportion of the night in postmenopausal than in premenopausal women (68.1% versus 35.8% of time in bed, p<0.0001), and the prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing tended to be higher (86.2% versus 79.4% of time in bed, p=0.057). The body mass indices and the major symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing were similar in pre- and postmenopausal women. Postmenopausal women had less nasal congestion (p<0.001) than premenopausal ones. Body mass index was a significant explanatory factor of daytime sleepiness.

Conclusions: Post- and premenopausal women present with similar signs and symptoms when referred to sleep studies. However, sleep-disordered breathing is more severe in postmenopausal than in premenopausal women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Female / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypoventilation / physiopathology
  • Menopause / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology*