Insomnia is one of the most common symptoms of menopause, with nearly 20% of postmenopausal women reporting sleep disturbances. A new study from Korea demonstrates that sleep quality is often worse for women who undergo surgical menopause compared with those who transition through menopause naturally. The study results are published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).
Surgical menopause is often accompanied by more psychological and physical difficulties. The increased severity of menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats can disrupt sleep during a time in a woman’s life when sleep problems are already an issue; however, only a few quantitative studies have investigated sleep-interfering behavior in postmenopausal women. This new study is one of the first to compare sleep-interfering behaviors based on type of menopause, surgical and natural.
More than 500 postmenopausal women completed questionnaires as part of the study. Women in the surgical menopause group reported significantly worse sleep quality, especially for sleep duration and habitual sleep efficiency, compared with women in the natural menopause group. In addition, women who underwent surgical menopause were found to be more than twice as likely to have insomnia. Furthermore, those women in the surgical menopause group who displayed more sleep-interfering behaviors had a higher severity of insomnia symptoms.
Corresponding author Sooyeon Suh, PhD, a professor of psychology at Sungshin Women’s University in South Korea, says in a release, “Menopause is not a very well-discussed or well-researched topic, especially in psychiatric or medical settings. Many women bear the burden of going through this phase feeling isolated without much information or education. More studies and interest in this topic are definitely needed to help half of the world population who will inevitably go through this transition.”
Results of this study are reported in the article “Sleep disturbance in women who undergo surgical menopause compared with women who experience natural menopause.”
“Early surgical menopause is known to be associated with more severe menopause symptoms,” says JoAnn Pinkerton, MD, NAMS executive director. “That’s why it is important to assess sleep quality in women after surgery that leads to menopause, because insomnia and disrupted sleep can cause fatigue, mood changes, and lower quality of life.”