Background: Menopause alters the physiological, biochemical and psychological environment of a woman. Thus the knowledge and perception of its symptomatology is invaluable to enable appropriate adjustment to this natural phenomenon.
Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the knowledge and perception of menopause and climacteric symptoms among a sample of women in Enugu, South East Nigeria.
Methods: This was a cross sectional survey of 432 women aged 45-60 and above drawn from the general population of Enugu metropolis of Nigeria. These women were randomly selected from the gynaecology clinic attendees in a tertiary health care facility in Enugu. A self administered structured pre-tested questionnaire was designed. The data were analysed using SPSS software. The primary methods used were cross tabulation (with X2 or Mantel Haenszel trend tests as appropriate) and one way analysis of variance.
Results: Majority of women in the population studied experienced climacteric symptoms but relatively few regarded these symptoms as a problem. For example hot flushes and night sweats were experienced by 70.0% but defined as a problem by only 30.0%. Out of 432 women studied, only 33.3% sought medical attention in hospital for their symptoms. 58.3% of the women did not regard them as a medical problem and took them as part of aging process.
Conclusion: Physicians should be aware of climacteric symptoms among women in the population so as to offer appropriate counselling and support without undue recourse to wasteful clinical assessment and investigations. Public enlightenment would also help to improve awareness of the menopause and its symptoms that may often lead to misdiagnosis in gynaecological clinics.
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