Psychosocial correlates of menopausal symptoms among women in Ilorin, Nigeria
Background: The increasing rate of social involvement among African women has made menopause of high concern today. The aim of this
study was to identify some psychosocial factors that determine how severely women in Ilorin, Nigeria perceive menopausal symptoms.
Method: Women who attained menopause naturally between 40-60 years of age were interviewed using structured questionnaires to obtain certain demographic and psychosocial information following informed consent. Perception of menopausal symptoms was assessed using the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS). The psychosocial parameters were then correlated with MRS scores. Data were analysed using SPSS software version 22. Associations between categorical variables were tested using the chi-square (÷2), the student-t test was used for the continuous variables (p <0.05) while linear regression was used to identify independent determinants.
Results: Three hundred and eighty-five women aged 51.3±0.3 years on the average participated in the study, 331(86%) were Yoruba, 16 (4.2%) were Ibo, 3 (0.8%) Hausa and 35 (9%) were of other ethnic minorities. The total Menopause rating score was 14.02±0.44 out of a maximum score of 44 which indicated a generally mild perception. Joint pain ((1.77±0.16) was however the most perceived symptom. There is a significant association between all the psychosocial parameters assessed and MRS scores (p < 0.05). However societal support was the only independent determinant of menopause severity.
Conclusion: Social support is by far the most important determinant of menopausal symptom severity in our study subjects. Effort to enhance
social support in Nigeria will help the women cope better with menopausal symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.
Keywords: Nigeria; Women; Menopause; Quality of Life; Social Support