Stephanie Faubion, MD, on Hypertension During Pregnancy and Later Menopause Symptoms
Women with a history of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy have worse and “more bothersome” symptoms during menopause, according to results of a new study.1
The study analysis included 2684 women aged 40 to 65 years, of whom 180 (6.7%) self-reported having a hypertensive disorder during pregnancy. Menopause symptoms were assessed using the Menopause Rating Scale.
Results showed that women who reported a hypertensive disorder during pregnancy had higher menopausal symptom scores, as well as higher somatic and psychological domain scores, than women who did not report hypertensive disorders during pregnancy.
Lead researcher Stephanie S. Faubion, MD, who is a clinician in the Center for Women’s Health at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, and the medical director of The North American Menopause Society, answered our questions about her research and its implications.
Endocrinology Consultant: What was the impetus for this study?
Stephanie Faubion: We know that high blood pressure during pregnancy and vasomotor symptoms (ie, hot flashes and night sweats) are both tied to cardiovascular disease risk, and we wanted to see whether they were associated with each other.
ENDO CON: Your study mentions that despite the fact that hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) and hot flashes are both tied to cardiovascular disease, the exact link was still unknown prior to this study. With the findings from your study in mind, what is the next step for future research in this area?
SF: Several things can be done, and we mention these in the study. One is that a study should be undertaken to look at the association of objectively measured hot flashes and history of a hypertensive pregnancy disorder. The study findings should also be confirmed in more diverse patient populations. We also hope that the results of this study can be used to inform a better risk prediction model for heart disease in women.
ENDO CON: What are the key clinical takeaways of this study?
SF: The takeaways are that women with either or both HDP and vasomotor symptoms may be at an increased risk for future heart disease, and more attention to cardiovascular disease risk modification is needed. Women can work on lifestyle modification (ie, stop smoking, eat a healthy diet, exercise, lose weight if needed) and should know their numbers, such as blood pressure, glucose, and lipids. Also, women with a history of HDP may experience worse symptoms in menopause, and proactive education regarding menopause management strategies may be helpful.
Faubion SS, King A, Kattah AG, et al. Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and menopausal symptoms— a cross-sectional study from the data registry on experiences of aging, menopause, and sexuality. August 17, 2020. Menopause. Doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001638