Relationships between psychological symptoms, somatic complaints and menopausal status

Maturitas. 1986 Oct;8(3):217-28. doi: 10.1016/0378-5122(86)90029-0.


The importance of distinguishing climacteric symptoms from other psychological and somatic complaints has been repeatedly stressed, but as yet no detailed guidelines are available to assist the clinician in the day-to-day management of patients. Previous epidemiological surveys of climacteric symptoms have been criticised because of inadequate methodology. We have attempted to overcome most of these problems and to provide a more detailed analysis of the relationships between menopausal status and psychological and somatic symptoms. Eight hundred and fifty pre-, peri- and post-menopausal women, aged 45-65 yr, took part in a cross-sectional survey of general health, psychosocial factors and current symptomatology. They were a non-menopause clinic sample and were blind to the purpose of the study. Using a principal components analysis, the relationships between symptoms were examined. Certain psychological and somatic symptoms occurred together in specific clusters. Some of these symptom clusters, e.g., vasomotor symptoms and sexual difficulties, were best predicted solely by menopausal status, while others, such as psychological and somatic symptoms, were more clearly associated with psychosocial factors. On the basis of these results, guidelines for the assessment of climacteric and post-menopausal women can be suggested.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anxiety
  • Climacteric / physiology
  • Climacteric / psychology*
  • Cognition
  • Depression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menopause / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological
  • Sleep Wake Disorders
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vasomotor System / physiology