Objectives: There is evidence that the menopausal transition in women is accompanied by changes in the metabolic profile. We evaluated the lipid profile during the perimenopause to postmenopause transition and its association with menopausal status.
Methods: This is a retrospective observational study of laboratory studies from women presenting to the gynecology unit of Hospital Quirón Salud, Madrid (2007-2018) with irregular menstruation, amenorrhea or menopausal symptoms. Inclusion criteria were one or more blood samples with determinations of fasting glucose and lipids (total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol [LDL-c], high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [HDL-c] and triglycerides [TGs]) from women with a menopause diagnosis recorded in the hospital database. The determinations were classified as perimenopausal or postmenopausal based on the date of last menstruation.
Results: In total, 13,517 laboratory studies (3,073 perimenopausal and 10,444 postmenopausal) from 275 women were analyzed. Total cholesterol, LDL-c, and TG levels were significantly higher in postmenopausal women than in perimenopausal women, whereas HDL-c levels were significantly lower (P < 0.05 in all cases). Further adjustment by age showed differences only in LDL-c levels. Menopausal status, TG levels, and the number of pregnancies were independently related with total cholesterol and LDL-c levels. HDL-c levels were independently affected by menopausal age, TG levels, and number of pregnancies. Finally, TG concentration was independently affected by total cholesterol, LDL-c, and HDL-c levels.
Conclusion: Our study suggests that significant changes in LDL-c levels occur during the menopausal transition. Total cholesterol and LDL-c changes are independently affected by menopausal status and HDL-c is influenced by menopausal age.