Objective: The aim of this study was to determine vasomotor symptom (VMS) prevalence, duration, and impact on quality of life in middle-aged women using a validated menopausal tool.
Methods: The Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) and an itemized questionnaire containing personal sociodemographic data were used to examine 8,373 women aged 40 to 59 years from 22 healthcare centers in 12 Latin American countries.
Results: Less than half (48.8%) of all women studied were postmenopausal, 14.7% used hormone therapy (HT), 54.5% presented VMS of any degree, and 9.6% presented severe/bothersome symptoms. The rate of VMS (any degree) significantly increased from one menopausal stage to the next. HT users presented more VMS (any degree) than did nonusers (58.6% vs 53.8%, P = 0.001). When surgical postmenopausal women were compared, non-HT users displayed a higher prevalence of severe VMS (16.1% vs 9.0%, P = 0.0001). The presence of VMS of any degree was related to a more impaired quality of life (higher total MRS score; odds ratio, 4.7; 95% CI, 4.1-5.3). This effect was even higher among women presenting severe VMS. Logistic regression analysis determined that the presence of severe psychological/urogenital symptoms (MRS), lower educational level, natural perimenopause-postmenopause status, nulliparity, surgical menopause, and living at high altitude were significant risk factors for severe VMS. HT use was related to a lower risk. A second regression model determined that surgical menopause, intense psychological/urogenital symptoms, and a history of psychiatric consultation were factors related to severe VMS persisting into the late postmenopausal stage (5 or more years).
Conclusions: In this Latin American middle-aged series, VMS prevalence was high, persisting into the late postmenopausal phase in a high rate and severely impairing quality of life. HT use was related to a lower risk of severe VMS.