Well-being at midlife: Correlates of mental health in ambulatory menopausal women with multiple sclerosis
A majority of women with multiple sclerosis (MS) are diagnosed prior to menopause, yet their experiences during this transition are not well characterized.Objectives:
To explore associations between mental health, sleep, and other quality of life metrics, and vasomotor symptoms (VMSs) in ambulatory, menopausal women with MS.Methods:
A secondary analysis was performed of baseline data from two trials enrolling ambulatory peri/postmenopausal women with MS: NCT02710214 (N = 24, bothersome VMS) and NCT04002934 (ongoing, N = 35, myelin repair). Measures analyzed were 36-Item Short-Form Survey (SF-36) (primary scale: general mental health), subjective sleep quality (Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index), VMS (daily diary, interference), mood (Center for Epidemiologist Studies—Depression Scale (CES-D)), walking impairment (timed 25-foot walk (T25FW)), and global disability (Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS)).Results:
Participants’ characteristics (N = 59) were: mean age 51.8 years (SD = 3.4), mean disease duration 11.3 years (SD = 7.6), median EDSS 3.0 (IQR = 2.0–4.0). Mental health was associated with better sleep quality (rho = −0.41, p = 0.019) and better mood (rho = −0.75, p < 0.001), but not with EDSS or T25FW (rho < 0.20, p > 0.10). Worse sleep quality also correlated with more frequent VMS (rho = 0.41, p = 0.02) and VMS interference (rho = 0.59, p < 0.001).Conclusions:
Findings suggest that optimizing sleep quality, mood, and hot flash quantity/interference could substantially improve mental health in menopausal women with MS—and highlight an important care gap in this population.