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Severity of Menopause Symptoms and Cognitive Performance

17 January 2022

Menopause is often accompanied by an array of symptoms that can detract from a woman’s quality of life. A new study suggests that the severity of some of those symptoms—especially depression and sexual dysfunction—were linked to a woman’s cognitive performance. Study results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Although menopause is a natural phenomenon, not all women across ethnic groups experience it the same way. The frequency and severity of symptoms can vary greatly between one woman and the next.
Previous studies have evaluated the effect of these symptoms on a woman’s physical and mental wellbeing. This new study involving more than 400 women is different because it evaluated the effect of the
severity of menopause symptoms on overall cognitive performance and its five domains, including orientation, registration, attention, recall, and language and visuospatial skills.

Among other things, researchers in this new study considered the severity of such common menopause symptoms as sexual dysfunction, vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes), depression, and anxiety. They concluded that the cognitive performance of women is sensitive to the severity of certain menopause symptoms, especially depression and sexual dysfunction. In this particular study, no association was identified between the severity of vasomotor symptoms and cognitive performance, although other studies have suggested that such an association exists.

Abstract

Objective: Menopause is a natural phenomenon among women during their midlife, which is accompanied by unfavorable physical, physiological, and psychological consequences. Therefore, the major aim of the present cross-sectional study was to examine whether the cognitive performance of women is sensitive to the severity of menopausal symptoms.

Methods: A total number of 404 rural women aged between 40 and 65 years were included in the present study. The menopausal symptoms and cognitive performance of the women were assessed using the Greene Climacteric Scale and Hindi Mini-Mental State Examination scale respectively.

Results: The results of the present study demonstrated that women experiencing severe menopausal symptoms (higher Total Greene climacteric score) presented significantly lower mean values for orientation (8.11 vs 8.90, 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/visuo-spatial skills (7.13 vs 7.91, P < 0.001) as compared with their counterparts with mild menopausal symptoms. The multivariate linear regression model (after adjustment for age, marital status, and educational status) recorded severe depression and greater sexual dysfunction as the factors significantly associated with lower Mini-Mental State Examination scores.

Conclusion: Hence, the findings of the present study indicated that the cognitive performance of women was sensitive to severe depression and sexual dysfunction.

Reference

Mankamal Kaur, Maninder Kaur Menopause. Is cognitive performance of women sensitive to the severity of menopausal symptoms? 2022 Jan 10;29(2):170-177. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001910.

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