Hot flashes, night sweats, urinary issues, dryness – all common symptoms of menopause. However, studies show that the frequency of these symptoms is linked to traumatic experiences, such as intimate partner violence (IPV) or sexual abuse. According to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine, symptoms of PTSD were associated with vaginal symptoms such as irritation or dryness, hot flashes, and difficulty sleeping. Furthermore, menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes or insomnia can trigger trauma survivors.
Of the 2,000 women over 40 years old who participated in the study, 21% had experienced emotional IPV and 23% met the criteria for PTSD. Women who experienced emotional IPV reported pain with intercourse 60% higher than women who did not experience any abuse. Similarly, women who suffered abuse had more trouble sleeping (40%) and experienced more night sweats (50%). Physical IPV survivors reported having vaginal dryness, irritation, and pain with intercourse at a rate 40% higher than women who did not suffer from any violence.
Trauma impacts biological and hormonal changes exacerbated by menopause. Women who suffer from PTSD may be hypervigilant, which in turn can affect sleep. Similarly, the symptoms of menopause can heighten symptoms caused by trauma, such as the additional stress linked to menopause.
The El Camino Women’s Group strives to create a safe and supportive environment for all women. If you would like to speak to our physicians about anything that is affecting your daily life, we are more than willing to listen so please make an appointment as soon as possible.
El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems. Drs. Amy Teng, Erika Balassiano, and Pooja Gupta, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecgologic Surgery. Dr. Erika Balassiano is also completed a Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.
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