If scientists are to be believed, women could soon tell their doctors to predict the type and duration of their menopause in advance.
An Indian-origin researcher-led international team says it has found that the severity and range of health symptoms experienced by women through midlife formed into groups and distinct patterns, but only some of these, such as hot flushes and cold or night sweats, are related to timing of menopause.
The research team, led by Professor Gita Mishra at the University of Queensland, expects the discoveries will allow doctors to give patients more details on the symptoms they experience leading up to menopause and an idea of their likely duration after menopause.
"Women who experienced only minimal symptoms before their last period were unlikely to develop severe symptoms later, while for others the timing of symptoms relative to menopause was key to understanding the likely duration of the symptoms," Prof Mishra said in a university release.
The study, which involved UK's Medical Research Council, used annual surveys from more than 600 women with natural menopause to identify four groups of symptoms -- psychological (eg. anxiety and depression), somatic (eg. headaches and joint pain), vasomotor (eg. hot flushes and night sweats), and also sexual discomfort.