Menopausal transitions, symptoms and country of birth: The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health

Gita Mishra, Christina Lee*, Wendy Brown, Annette Dobson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To assess differences among the menopausal transitions and symptoms experienced by women participating in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health, according to their countries of birth. 

Methods: Data from 8,466 women aged 45-50 in 1996, who responded to surveys in 1996 and 1998 and had not had a hysterectomy, were analysed. Women were categorised by country of birth and cross-sectionally by menopausal status at Survey 1 and 2, as well as longitudinally by transition through menopause between Surveys 1 and 2. Four endocrine-related and 10 general symptoms were assessed. 

Results: Women born in Asia were twice as likely as Australian-born women to be post-menopausal at Survey 1, twice as likely to become post-menopausal between surveys, less likely to remain peri-menopausal, and less likely to report hot flushes and night sweats. Odds ratios for each symptom at Survey 2 were near unity for all country of birth groups compared with Australian born women, with or without adjustment for symptoms at Survey 1, menopausal transition category, behaviour, lifestyle and demographics. 

Conclusions: Asian-born women entered menopause earlier and passed through it more quickly, but once this was taken into account all women showed the same prevalences of symptoms. There may be differences between ethnic groups that influence the timing of menopause, but the subjective experience appears similar. 

Implications: The timing of menopause may be affected by biological or dietary differences. Asian-born women's lower reported prevalence of symptoms may be explained by a more rapid peri-menopausal transition. With increasing numbers of Asian-Australian women reaching menopause, an understanding of country-of-birth differences has implications for public health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-570
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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