Sleep disruption is the most common and severe symptom reported by middle-aged women when their periods change and they start moving into the menopause, according to a study in the April issue of the UK-based Journal of Clinical Nursing.
Researchers at the University of Arizona College of Nursing, USA, spoke to 110 women entering the menopause when periods can become lighter or heavier and occur at longer or shorter intervals. Their average age was 49 and they had all experienced their last menstrual period in the last three years.
On average, they reported suffering from seven of the ten most common menopause symptoms.
95% suffered from sleep difficulties, 92% from forgetfulness, 87% from irritability, 85% from night sweats and 91% from hot flashes or flushes.
The other symptoms reported were: mood swings (75%), depression (71%), day sweats (66%), vaginal dryness (55%) and irregular bleeding (35%).
Women taking part in the study were also asked to rate the severity of ten menopause symptoms on a scale of zero to four, where zero was no symptoms and four was extreme. The average severity score was 20.8 out of a possible 40.
Difficulty sleeping was the most severe symptom, scoring an average of 2.90 out of four, followed by night sweats (2.58), irritability (2.56), forgetfulness (2.42), hot flashes or flushes (2.41) and mood swings (2.12).
Women reported that they were less affected by day sweats (1.88), depression (1.73), vaginal dryness (1.45) and irregular bleeding (0.82).
We also talked to the women about how frequently they experienced symptoms says lead researcher and associate professor Dr Judith A Berg. Women who reported problems with day sweats and hot flashes or flushes experienced an average of six a day and women who had problems with night sweats averaged just under three a night.
The average time since the womens last menstrual period (LMP) was five months and the
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