• Research

    Researchers find link between childhood trauma, recent abuse and more severe menopause symptoms

By Heather Carlson Kehren

Women who have experienced childhood trauma may suffer from more severe hot flashes and night sweats during menopause, according to new Mayo Clinic research presented during the 16th World Congress on Menopause this week.

Researchers found an association between women who experienced adverse childhood events (ACEs) and more severe menopausal symptoms, according to an abstract of the study. ACEs include physical, sexual and emotional abuse, physical and emotional neglect and parental separation and divorce. These experiences have been linked to risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions and early death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We found that women with a history of abuse, whether in childhood or recent, are more likely than women without these histories to experience more severe menopausal symptoms and more psychological symptoms. Women who report recent abuse are also more likely to report adverse childhood experiences,” says Mayo Clinic research trainee Madison Okuno, the study’s lead author. The study involved women seen at Mayo Clinic’s Women’s Health Clinic between May 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2016. Their information was tracked using the Data Registry on Experiences of Aging, Menopause and Sexuality.

Of the 1,670 women in the study, 58.5 percent reported experiencing at least one adverse childhood event and 3.1 percent reported recent abuse. Women who had experienced an adverse childhood event reported more severe menopausal symptoms. Researchers also found a link between women who had reported an adverse childhood event and current abuse and depression.

Co-authors ─ all from Mayo Clinic ─ are:


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