Summary of Evidence - Introduction

There are a wide range of symptoms associated with menopause. While some of these appear to have a direct link with menopause, such as vasomotor symptoms and vulvovaginal symptoms, others may be linked to psychosocial factors such as age and social class, or to the occurrence of other menopausal symptoms. In a survey of 682 pre-, peri- and post-menopausal women, the strongest associations between menopausal symptoms were seen between depression, anxiety and sleep, cognitive difficulties and anxiety, and vasomotor, somatic and sleep symptoms.12

In a study of 200 women who had received treatment for breast cancer in the previous five years, hot flushes/sweating and sleep difficulties were the most commonly reported menopausal symptoms (85% and 86%, respectively).13 In a study of 578 Australian women with breast cancer who were seeking treatment for menopausal symptoms, 65% reported moderate to severe hot flushes. Other symptoms commonly rated as moderate to severe included night sweats, difficulty sleeping and fatigue (58% each), and loss of libido (55%). Six percent of women were troubled by all five symptoms, while 9% were extremely troubled by four of the five symptoms.4 Overall quality of life and the partner’s quality of life have been shown to be significantly associated with all menopausal symptoms, with the highest correlations seen for vasomotor symptoms, depression, vaginal dryness and sexual problems.13