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In 2010, nearly 400 million women worldwide were of menopause age (45-54). Although many women transition through menopause with ease, some experience distress and a subsequent decrease in quality of life. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the experiences of distress in women during the menopause transition. A narrative analysis methodology was used maintaining participants’ complete narratives when possible. In-person interviews of 15 midlife women were digitally audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Women shared narratives of distress related to menstrual changes, emotional instability, vaginal dryness, and decreased libido affected by their relationships with self, partners, work, and family. Some experiences were presented against a backdrop of the past and influenced by concerns for the future. Detailed stories illuminated the effect that distressful symptoms had on quality of life and captured how intricately woven symptoms were with the women’s interpersonal and social lives.


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