Menopause presents differently in every woman, with a multitude of behavioural, biological, societal, psychological, and demographic factors influencing its intensity. Recent research suggests a potential link between infertility and an increased probability of experiencing certain menopausal symptoms, such as mood fluctuations, irritability, and sleep disturbances. These findings have been made accessible online in Menopause, The Menopause Society’s journal.
There’s a discernible connection between the onset of menopause and the occurrence of its symptoms and a woman’s reproductive history. Limited research indicates that women who’ve dealt with infertility might face an earlier onset of menopause and more pronounced symptoms. Stressful life events, including infertility, are associated with heightened menopausal symptoms, equating infertility’s trauma to that of a cancer diagnosis. This particular study, encompassing nearly 700 women in their midlife, aimed to examine the impact of a history of infertility on menopausal experiences. Approximately 36.6% of participants reported having dealt with infertility, a figure surpassing the national average of 27.6%, as stated in The Nurses’ Health Study.
The study concluded that women with a history of infertility were more likely to face sleep issues, depressive moods, and irritability during menopause. However, no link was established between infertility and other prevalent menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, or anxiety.
Previous research has drawn parallels between infertility and depression, with 30% to 60% of women undergoing infertility assessments and treatment testing positive for depression. This recent study stands out by suggesting that prior infertility experiences could correlate with depressive symptoms in midlife, warranting more extensive screening.
The study’s findings are elaborated in the article “Exploring the Relationship between the History of Infertility and the experience of menopausal symptoms.”
This study indicates a correlation between a history of infertility and an increased probability of depressive and sleep symptoms during midlife. Hence, it’s recommended that midlife women with a history of infertility undergo more rigorous screening for depression,” states Dr Stephanie Faubion, Medical Director for The Menopause Society.