Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




More women are going through the menopausal transition today than at any time in the history of our civilization. The number of women greater than 50 years of age has increased by 27% between 1990 and 2000, and is expected to increase by another 9% by 2020. Women who are transitioning through menopause often experience a variety of symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, irritability, memory loss, decreased libido, and depression. Symptoms occurring during the menopausal transition may also be confused with changes associated with aging, including increased abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, and the metabolic syndrome; for example, fatigue, brain fogginess, feeling agitated and moody, and depression.

While studies have explored the relationship between carbohydrate, fat, and fiber content on weight and fat loss, and diabetic risk, and other chronic diseases, only one study was found that specifically linked dietary intake with a reduction in menopausal symptoms. The purpose of this study was to explore and compare dietary intake, specifically carbohydrate and fiber, and its effect on menopausal symptoms. Menopausal status and its effect on menopausal symptoms were also examined.

The conceptual framework used for this study was physiological adaptation. The population of the study consisted of Caucasian women ranging in ages from 42-65. The convenience sample was drawn mostly from university staff in a Midwestern city, and most of the women was married, perimenopausai, not on hormonal replacement therapy, and had a total of two pregnancies. The study was descriptive in design, and employed three self-reported tools to acquire the information needed for the study. The investigators secured IRB approval from the university prior to soliciting participants, and consent forms were signed prior to filling out the questionnaires. The data was analyzed by using SPSS, and Cronbach’s co-efficiency test, t-test, Chi-Square, Pearsorf s r correlation, and Hierarchical Regression Models statistical tests.

The results showed no statistical significant relationship between dietary intake of carbohydrate and fiber and menopause symptoms, however there was some clinical significance found when looking at the effect size. Carbohydrates and grains did have practical significance showing a small effect over and above all of the other predictors on menopausal symptom s. This effect was independent of sample size, and the findings may show natural alternatives to relieving menopausal symptoms and deserve further study. These findings have implications for aging women and their primary health care providers, and provide a basis for further research and development of nursing theory related to dietary intake and menopausal symptoms.