Are menopausal women more anxious?

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A new analysis from the SWAN study shows that anxiety before menopause does not correlate with anxiety during the menopausal transition. Researchers from the multisite Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, report in Menopause that women who are calmer at premenopause actually are more susceptible to high anxiety during and after menopause than before menopause, and vice versa.

 

A new analysis from the SWAN study shows that anxiety before menopause does not correlate with anxiety during the menopausal transition. Researchers from the multisite Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, report in Menopause that women who are calmer at premenopause actually are more susceptible to high anxiety during and after menopause than before menopause, and vice versa.

For the study, titled “Does risk for anxiety increase during the menopausal transition? Study of women’s health across the nation,” researchers examined anxiety as a cluster of 4 symptoms (irritability, nervousness or tension, feeling fearful for no reason, and heart pounding or racing). They determined the association between menopausal stage and high anxiety during 10 years of follow-up of 2956 women who were aged 42 to 52 at the beginning of the study.

Women with low anxiety at baseline were more likely to report high-anxiety symptoms at early or late perimenopause or postmenopause than at premenopause (odds ratio, 1.56-1.61), independent of multiple risk factors, including upsetting life events, financial strain, fair/poor perceived health, and vasomotor symptoms. Women with high anxiety at baseline continued to have high rates of high anxiety throughout follow-up, but odds ratios did not differ by menopausal stage.

The researchers also found that women with high anxiety were more likely to be Hispanic, to have a high school education or less, to have difficulty paying for basic needs, to be in early perimenopause, and to report frequent vasomotor symptoms, worse health characteristics, and at least one very upsetting event in the previous year.

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Gloria Richard-Davis MD, MBA, NCMP, FACOG
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