WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) — A history of intimate partner violence (IPV) or sexual assault and current symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are associated with an increased risk for menopause symptoms, according to a study published online Nov. 19 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Carolyn J. Gibson, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System, and colleagues studied a multiethnic cohort of 2,016 women (mean age, 60.5 years) in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health care system between Nov. 15, 2008, and March 30, 2012. Questionnaires were used to assess lifetime physical or emotional IPV, sexual assault, and current symptoms of PTSD.

The researchers found that 21 percent of women reported lifetime emotional IPV, 15.7 percent reported lifetime physical IPV, 18.9 percent reported sexual assault, and 22.5 percent had current clinically significant symptoms of PTSD. After adjustment for age, race/ethnicity, educational level, body mass index, menopause status, hormone therapy, and parity, symptoms of PTSD were associated with difficulty sleeping (odds ratio [OR], 3.02), vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes, OR, 1.69; night sweats, OR, 1.72), and vaginal symptoms (vaginal dryness, OR, 1.73; vaginal irritation, OR, 2.2; pain with intercourse, OR, 2.16). An association was seen between emotional IPV and difficulty sleeping (OR, 1.36), night sweats (OR, 1.5), and pain with intercourse (OR, 1.6), while physical IPV was associated with night sweats (OR, 1.33). Sexual assault was associated with vaginal symptoms, including vaginal dryness (OR, 1.41), vaginal irritation (OR, 1.42), and pain with intercourse (OR, 1.44).

“These findings highlight the need for greater recognition of these exposures by clinicians caring for midlife and older women,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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