Background: This study characterized the self-reported reason for a gynecology visit among midlife women in three different practice settings. We hypothesized that women seeking specialty care were more likely to report nonvasomotor symptoms potentially related to the menopausal transition. Methods: Participants were 625 women aged 40-60 seen by gynecologists at three sites: an urban, academic, gynecologic menopause practice (Midlife Practice, or MLP) and urban (site A) and suburban (site B) locations of a general, nonacademic obstetrics and gynecology practice. Participants completed a self-report questionnaire asking them to choose and weigh the reason for their visit as "very much," "somewhat," or "not at all" for 15 common gynecologic and menopausal concerns. Demographic questions included age, self-rated health status, race/ethnicity, difficulty of paying for basics, and education. Comparisons between the three groups were made using parametric and nonparametric tests as appropriate. The main outcome measure was the response to the reason for participants' visit compared across the three sites. Results: Women presenting to the MLP were significantly older and more likely to report vasomotor symptoms (VMS), moodiness, sexual problems, sleep problems, and weight and to learn more about menopause. When "very much" and "somewhat" reasons were combined, nearly 80% of the MLP responses listed sleep problems, 60% listed vaginal dryness or low desire, 34% listed weight gain, and 30.7% listed mood. Conclusions: Midlife women seeking care in a menopause gynecology practice had significantly more visits for vasomotor and nonvasomotor concerns than did women seeing general gynecologists. Women sought care for a broad range of concerns that are not typically in gynecologists' scope of practice, including sleep disturbances, moodiness, and weight management.
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