Endogenous hormones, participant characteristics, and symptoms among midlife women

Lisa Gallicchio, Chrissy Schilling, William A. Romani, Susan Miller, Howard Zacur, Jodi A. Flaws

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The primary aim of this study was to examine the associations between endogenous hormone levels and symptoms other than hot flashes in a sample of midlife women. Methods: Data from a community-based sample of 603 women aged 45-54 years who had never used hormone therapy were analyzed. Each participant completed a questionnaire to obtain data on demographic and lifestyle characteristics as well as symptoms, including headache, insomnia, vision problems, vaginal discharge and dryness, irritability, and incontinence. In addition, each participant provided a blood sample that was used to measure estrogen, androgen, and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) concentrations by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results: Prevalence rates of symptoms ranged from 51.4% (irritability) to 18.6% (vision problems). In adjusted analyses, the free estradiol index (FEI) was significantly and positively associated with the reporting of insomnia (odds ratio (OR) 1.28; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01-1.61). Further, higher SHBG levels were significantly associated with lower odds of reporting vision problems (OR 0.44; 95% CI 0.23-0.81). Conclusions: This study provides evidence that hormones are associated with insomnia and visual problems during midlife. However, some of these results conflict with previous findings. Given the overall paucity of literature on these issues, more investigation is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-127
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 20 2008


  • Androgens
  • Estrogens
  • Incontinence
  • Insomnia
  • Menopausal transition
  • Midlife
  • Sleep
  • Symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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