A review of menopause nomenclature.


Objectives: Menopause nomenclature varies in the scholarly literature making synthesis and interpretation of research findings difficult. Therefore, the present study aimed to review and discuss critical developments in menopause nomenclature; determine the level of heterogeneity amongst menopause definitions and compare them with the Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop criteria.

Methods: Definitions/criteria used to characterise premenopausal and postmenopausal status were extracted from 210 studies and 128 of these studies were included in the final analyses.

Results: The main findings were that 39.84% of included studies were consistent with STRAW classification of premenopause, whereas 70.31% were consistent with STRAW classification of postmenopause. Surprisingly, major inconsistencies relating to premenopause definition were due to a total lack of reporting of any definitions/criteria for premenopause (39.84% of studies). In contrast, only 20.31% did not report definitions/criteria for postmenopause.

Conclusion: There is a significant amount of heterogeneity associated with the definition of premenopause, compared with postmenopause. We propose three key suggestions/recommendations, which can be distilled from these findings. Firstly, premenopause should be transparently operationalised and reported. Secondly, as a minimum requirement, regular menstruation should be defined as the number of menstrual cycles in a period of at least 3 months. Finally, the utility of introducing normative age-ranges as supplementary criterion for defining stages of reproductive ageing should be considered. The use of consistent terminology in research will enhance our capacity to compare results from different studies and more effectively investigate issues related to women’s health and ageing.

Ambikairajah, A., Walsh, E., & Cherbuin, N. (2022). A review of menopause nomenclature. Reproductive Health, 19(29). doi:10.1186/s12978-022-01336-7