Recommendations from a multi-study evaluation of proposed criteria for staging reproductive aging

Sioban D. Harlow, University of Michigan
Sybil L. Crawford, University of Massachusetts Medical School
L. Dennerstein, University of Melbourne
H. G. Burger, Monash University
Ellen S. Mitchell, University of Washington
Mary Fran R. Sowers, University of Michigan

Document Type Article


In 2001, the Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop (STRAW) proposed bleeding and endocrine criteria for defining the early and late menopausal transition stages. Based on expert consensus, STRAW recommended a shorter interval of amenorrhea than the commonly used 90-day amenorrhea criteria for late transition and a >7-day change in cycle length for early transition. The ReSTAGE collaboration used prospective menstrual calendar data from four cohorts (TREMIN, Melbourne Women's Midlife Health Project, Seattle Midlife Women's Health Study, and Study of Women's Health Across the Nation) to quantitatively evaluate STRAW's recommendations. This empirical assessment supported the STRAW recommendations that (1) > or =60 days of amenorrhea be used to define the late menopausal transition and (2) that early transition is consistent with a persistent 7 or more day difference in length of consecutive cycles. Serum follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) values > or =40 IU/l was an independent marker of the transition and, when occurring together with a bleeding marker, increased prediction of final menstrual period. Such a FSH criterion could be incorporated into the STRAW paradigm to facilitate prediction of proximity of the final menstrual period.