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Poor sleep quality and fatigue plague women with premature ovarian insufficiency

Sleep disturbances are a frequent complaint of women in the menopause transition and postmenopause. A new study demonstrates that women with premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) who are receiving hormone therapy have poorer sleep quality and greater fatigue than women of the same age with preserved ovarian function. Study results are published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

It is estimated that 40% to 50% of menopausal and postmenopausal women complain about sleep problems. Sleep problems include difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep, as well as waking up too early. Complicating matters is the fact that women with insomnia generally complain more about body pain, headaches, daytime dysfunction, mood disorders, fatigue, and decreased work productivity. Although some of the problems are related to other common symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, not all sleep issues can be traced back to these root causes.

Although numerous studies have been conducted about the sleep patterns of menopausal and postmenopausal women in general, this newest study from Brazil is thought to be the first to specifically evaluate the sleep quality in women with POI. This condition differs from premature menopause because women with POI can still have irregular or occasional periods for years and might even become pregnant. The Brazilian study found that women with POI who are receiving hormone therapy have poorer sleep quality, largely as a result of taking longer to fall asleep. These women were also found to have a higher fatigue index and were more likely to use sleep-inducing medications compared with comparably aged women who still had full ovarian function.

Study results appear in the article "Sleep quality and fatigue in women with premature ovarian insufficiency receiving hormone therapy: a comparative study."

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare sleep quality and fatigue between women with premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) receiving hormone therapy (HT) and women of the same age with preserved ovarian function.

METHODS:

This was a cross-sectional study of 61 women with POI receiving HT (POI group) and 61 women with preserved ovarian function (control group) who were matched by age (±2 years). The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and Chalder Fatigue Scale were used to assess sleep quality and fatigue. Apart from correlation analysis, the Mann-Whitney, chi-square, or Fisher test was used to compare the groups.

RESULTS:

Women from the POI and control groups were 35.03 ± 7.68 and 34.49 ± 7.55 years of age, respectively (P = 0.63). In the PSQI evaluation, the scores were 7.69 ± 4.18 and 8.03 ± 4.53, respectively (P = 0.79), showing no difference between the POI and control groups. However, the POI group had higher and therefore worse scores for the sleep latency component (1.74 ± 0.66 and 1.18 ± 0.87, respectively; P < 0.001) and use of medication to sleep (1.28 ± 0.88 and 0. 85 ± 0.8; P = 0.008). The POI group had a higher fatigue index than that of the control group (5.25 ± 2.78 and 3.49 ± 1.78, respectively; P < 0.001), with sleep quality being classified as poor in 69% and fatigue present in 59% of patients.

CONCLUSIONS:

Women with POI receiving HT have poor sleep quality. They take longer to fall asleep and have a higher fatigue index. 

Reference

Benetti-Pinto CL, Menezes C, Yela DA, Cardoso TM. Sleep quality and fatigue in women with premature ovarian insufficiency receiving hormone therapy: a comparative study. Menopause. 2019 Jul 8. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001379. [Epub ahead of print] 

Content created 29 July 2019

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