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.