Health status among women with menstrual symptoms.
PURPOSE: Chronic diseases have been associated with decrements in health status, as measured by the Medical Outcomes Study's Short Form-36 (SF-36). Menstrual symptoms (including irregular menses, menorrhagia, dysmenorrhea and premenstrual symptoms) are common, but little is known about their impact on health status. We sought to determine the prevalence of menstrual symptoms and the degree to which these symptoms affect health status. METHODS: This was a mailed survey including questions about sociodemographic characteristics, military experiences, current physical symptoms and medical conditions, mental health, health status (SF-36), and life experiences. The participants were a nationally representative, randomly selected sample of women veterans who had made at least one ambulatory visit to a Veterans Affairs facility between July 1, 1994 and June 30, 1995. The main outcome measures were eight domains of the SF-36 health status questionnaire. RESULTS: Among 3632 respondents (58.4% response rate), 1744 were menstruating women and formed the analytical sample for this study. Among these women (mean age 35.8), 67% reported one or more menstrual symptoms. Women with menstrual symptoms had significantly lower scores for all domains of the SF-36 (p < 0.01), except energy and vitality (p < 0.05), both before and after adjusting for sociodemographic, psychosocial, and comorbidity variables. CONCLUSIONS: Women veterans who report one or more menstrual symptoms have significantly lower health status compared with those reporting none. Clinicians providing care for women should be attuned to the potential impact of menstrual symptoms on the lives of their patients.
Barnard, K; Frayne, SM; Skinner, KM; Sullivan, LM
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