Severity of menopausal symptoms impacts cognitive performance

January 13, 2022

2 minutes read


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According to a cross-sectional study conducted in menopause.

The study included 404 women aged 40 to 65 (mean age 50.78 years) living in the rural areas of Rupnagar District, Punjab, India Mankamal Kaur MSc a research scientist and Maninder Kaur, PhD, Chair and Assistant Professor, both at the Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.

Kaur M. et al. menopause. 2021;doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000001910.

With a mean age at menarche of 14.89 ± 0.08 years and the menopause of 47.24 ± 0.32 years, 107 of the participants were premenopausal, 90 perimenopausal, 92 early menopausal and 115 late menopausal according to WHO criteria.

In addition, 83.4% were married and 93.8% had no private or government work. In terms of education, 22.5% were illiterate, 37.6% had elementary to middle school education, 32.2% had college degrees, and 7.7% were graduate or postgraduate.

Women were rated according to the Greene Climacteric Scale, which scored 21 menopausal symptoms according to psychological, somatic, vasomotor, and sexual interest classifications.

Depression (67%), somatic (63.5%), and sexual dysfunction (67.8%) were highest in late postmenopausal women. Anxiety (58.7%) and vasomotor symptoms (59.8%) were highest in early postmenopausal women.

The women also completed a 30-item Hindi version of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) to assess their global cognitive performance in terms of time and place orientation, registration, attention and computation, memory, and language and visuo-spatial skills measure subdomains.

Women with severe menopausal symptoms had significantly lower mean values ​​for orientation (8.11 vs. 8.9; P. <0.001), registration (2.77 vs. 2.91; P. <0.001), attention (4.31 vs. 4.48; P. <0.01), recall (2.26 vs. 2.53, P. < 0.05) and language/visio-spatial skills (7.13 vs. 7.91, P. < 0.001) than women with mild symptoms.

In a univariate linear regression analysis, the severity of each menopausal symptom was negatively and significantly associated with global cognitive scores, the researchers said.

However, in multivariate linear regression analysis, only major depression and greater intensity of sexual dysfunction had a negative and significant association with MMSE scores.

After adjusting for age, marital status, and educational level, the researchers found that major depression and sexual dysfunction were the only symptoms with a significant association with overall cognitive performance.

Severe vasomotor symptoms were not predictors of cognitive performance in all cognitive domains on the MMSE scale except attention, and once the researchers adjusted the covariates in the model, their significance was lost as well. No significant connection was observed between somatic symptoms and cognitive performance either.

Although more longitudinal and cross-sectional studies using large population-based samples could clarify these associations, the researchers believe their findings can help rural services address these issues and benefit many women.

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