Introduction: Natural Menopause is associated with somatic, vasomotor, psychological, and sexual complaints that may affect quality of life. This study determines the prevalence and severity of menopausal symptoms and their impact on the quality of life (QoL) among Palestinian women visiting primary care centers in Nablus, 2019.
Methodology: A cross-sectional study was conducted from November 2018 through March 2019. 380 women aged 45–60 years were conveniently interviewed. Participants were divided into three categories: premenopausal (n=105), perimenopausal (n=75), and postmenopausal (n=200). The Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) assessed the prevalence and severity of menopausal symptoms as well as QoL. Frequencies and mean scores of menopausal symptoms were compared for different categories. Descriptive and analytical analyses were performed. The level of significance was set at 5%. Data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 21.
Results: The study included 380 Palestinian women aged 45–60 years with a mean age of 52.15 ± 4.7 years. Mean age of onset of menopause was found to be 49.37 ±3 years. The three most prevalent reported symptoms were physical and mental exhaustion (86%), anxiety (85.5%) and irritability (85.3). All somatic subscale symptoms were more prevalent in the postmenopausal group. Only the prevalence of sleep problems was found to be statistically different between the three groups (P value=0.00). The average Palestinian MRS score was 18.64 ± 9.19 SD indicating very poor QoL. The linear regression model was used to study the relationship between the MRS score and the demographic and health variables of the sample. The results of the final model showed: R² = 0.077, F = 2.798, p = 0.002, revealing that women who are at or beyond the age of menopause have higher scores on the MRS score and therefore poorer quality of life compared with premenopausal women (β = 1.636 , p = 0.013).Women who were physically active (β = 1.679, p = 0.033), with an occupation (β = -3.319, p = 0.002) and multipara (β = -3.190, p = 0.027) reported a significant better quality of life. Age, marital status, level of education, BMI, smoking, and history of a chronic disease did not contribute to the multiple regression model for not being statistically significant.
Conclusion: The mean age of onset of menopause was found to be within the range of onset of natural menopause worldwide. The most prevalent symptoms at menopause were the psychological symptoms which indicate the need of psychological support activities for this age group. The poor QoL reported also reflects the need of targeted interventions for this group of patients to fulfill their needs and expectations.
Keywords: Menopause, Palestinian women, Menopause Rating Scale, Quality of life.