In a recent study, women with a prior history of infertility were more likely to experience sleep problems, irritability, and depressive mood in midlife.
According to a recent study published in Menopause, the journal of The Menopause Society, menopause symptoms such as sleep problems, irritability, and depressive mood may be impacted by infertility.
Menopause symptom severity is different in every woman, with influences based on social, behavioral, psychological, biological, and demographic factors. Reproductive history is also associated with menopause onset and symptom severity.
There is limited information on how infertility impacts menopause onset and symptom severity, but the data available has indicated a history of infertility may lead to earlier menopause onset and greater symptom severity. Stress is also associated with menopause symptoms, and infertility has been measured as a life stressor equal to a cancer diagnosis.
Investigators conducted a study to determine the association between lifetime infertility history and the experience of menopause symptoms in midlife. Over 700 midlife women were included, and 36.6% reported infertility history, above the reported national average of 27.6%.
Prior studies also linked infertility to depression, with 30% to 60% of women receiving evaluation and treatment for infertility having a positive screening for depression. However, this is the first study to link depressive symptoms in midlife to a previoushistory of infertility. This indicates a need to increase the prevalence of depressive symptoms screening in midlife.
Investigators concluded the risks of sleep issues, irritability, and depressive mood are increased in women with an infertility history. Other symptoms of menopause such as anxiety, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes were not associated with a prior history of infertility.
“This study shows an association between a history of infertility and increased odds of depression and sleep symptoms in midlife.” said Stephanie Faubion, MD, MBA, medical director for The Menopause Society.“ Women in midlife with a history of infertility may benefit from increased screening for depression.”
Infertility may lead to more severe menopause symptoms. The Menopause Society. August 2, 2023. Accessed August 2, 2023. https://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/press-release/infertility-association-with-menopause-symptoms.pdf