Some extragenital symptoms have been suggested to be associated with the menopause and thus to be affected by estrogen status. In such case extragenital symptoms may be more frequent in postmenopausal women without hormone replacement therapy (HRT) than in premenopausal women or women using HRT.
To assess if the prevalence of a number of extragenital symptoms is higher in postmenopausal women without than with HRT, or in premenopausal women of the same age.
All women aged 53 and 54 years in the community of Linköping (n=1760) were sent a validated questionnaire about use of HRT, time since last menstruation and about different extragenital symptoms.
1298 (73.8%) women answered the questionnaire and answers from 1180 (67%) women were possible to analyze. Postmenopausal women woke up significantly more often during night than premenopausal, and those without HRT often due to hot flushes and sweating. Women with HRT reported more muscular pain than the others. We found no other significant difference in prevalence of extragenital symptoms between the three groups of women.
Sleeping disorders, arthralgia, xerophthalmia, xerostomia and dry skin are not more prevalent in 53 and 54 years old postmenopausal women without HRT than in women with HRT or in premenopausal women of the same age. It may still be that some of these symptoms are related to estrogen deficiency, but do not develop until some years after menopause. It may also be that women with the most severe symptoms decided to use HRT and thereby decreased symptoms to the same level as in non-users.