Dietary patterns and their association with menopausal symptoms: a cross-sectional study

Menopause. 2019 Apr;26(4):365-372. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001245.


Objective: Although menopause is a natural event in a woman's life, some of its symptoms can be severe enough to adversely affect her health. There is some evidence to suggest that diet has an influence on menopausal symptoms, but less attention has been paid to dietary patterns. The purpose of this study is to determine the association of dietary patterns with physical, mental, and genitourinary menopausal symptoms.

Methods: A cross-sectional study design was applied using a sample of 400 postmenopausal women who attended health centers in the south of Tehran, Iran. The menopausal symptoms were assessed by a Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) questionnaire; a 147-item, semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire was used to collect dietary information, and major dietary patterns were identified by principal component analysis. Linear regression was used to evaluate the relationship between menopausal symptoms and dietary patterns.

Results: Three major dietary patterns were identified: vegetables and fruits (VF); mayonnaise, liquid oils, sweets, and desserts (MLSD); and solid fats and snacks (SFS). It has been found that the VF dietary pattern is inversely associated with general (β = -1.37; SE = 1.08; P for trend <0.001), physical (β = -1.54; SE = 1.09; P for trend <0.001), and mental (β = -1.58; SE = 1.11; P for trend <0.001) symptoms. A stronger adherence to the MLSD dietary pattern was directly associated with general (β = 1.15; SE = 1.08; P for trend <0.001) and genitourinary symptoms (β = 1.54; SE = 1.1; P for trend <0.001). Moreover, the SFS dietary pattern was directly related to the general (β = 1.23; SE = 1.09; P for trend = 0.01), physical (β = 1.24; SE = 1.09; P for trend = 0.04), and mental (β = 1.29; SE = 1.12; P for trend < 0.001) symptoms.

Conclusion: The present study demonstrated that there is an inverse association between VF dietary pattern and menopausal symptoms. In contrast, the MLSD and SFS dietary patterns were correlated to an increased risk of these symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / physiopathology
  • Arthralgia / physiopathology
  • Atrophy
  • Attention / physiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Energy Intake
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Hot Flashes / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology
  • Menopause* / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Myalgia / physiopathology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / physiopathology
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / physiopathology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweating / physiology
  • Vagina / pathology
  • Vegetables


  • Dietary Fats