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Menopause

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Little has been published on women’s experience of menopause post-SCI. In their observational study, Dannels and Charlifue (2004) report presence of typical peri-menopausal symptoms in women with SCI, but at a lower rate compared to the general population. The authors surmise several explanations for this difference, including the possibility of the symptoms mimicking those related to SCI, or a lack of communication about peri-menopause between providers and women with SCI (Dannels & Charlifue 2004). Jackson and Wadley (1999) also found a lower frequency of menopausal symptoms post-injury, but higher than those women who had undergone menopause pre-injury. Kalpakjian et al. (2010) reported that women with SCI transitioning through menopause experienced greater bother of somatic symptoms, bladder infections, and diminished sexual arousal compared to women without SCI.

The aforementioned studies illuminate the unique experiences of women after SCI in terms of their sexual and reproductive health. Numerous clinical questions remain unanswered, however, leaving women with SCI frustrated and angry about the lack of information and support for the particular needs of women with SCI and gynecological health (Pentland et al. 2002). This lack of information combined with the fact that obtaining access to gynecological and obstetric care is a challenge for many women with SCI (Nosek et al. 1996) raises the question of whether women with SCI are receiving adequate sexual and reproductive health care (Jackson & Wadley 1999).