Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Saba Masho


Background: Previous studies have addressed multiple sclerosis (MS) symptom management and improved health-related quality of life (HrQOL). Yet lowered estrogen levels in post-menopasual women with MS may further worsen physical function and symptomology and not all types of pain management have been examined. Objectives: For post-menopausal women with MS, we evaluated the extent to which smoking is associated with worsened health outcomes and HrQOL, and the extent to which menopausal hormone treatment (MHT) improves health outcomes and HrQOL. For all adult men and women with clinically diagnosed MS, we systematically reviewed pharmacological and non-pharmacological strategies for the reduction of pain. Methods: We identified 256 post-menopausal women with MS in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study and examined changes from baseline to 3 years in activities of daily living, physical activity, SF-36 mental and physical component scales (MCS, PCS), and menopausal symptoms. In all adults, experimental studies published after 1965 were included if the sample was not restricted to participants with spasticity or trigeminal neuralgia and participant-reported pain was a primary or secondary outcome. Pain scores were reported as Cohen’s d. Results: Nine percent of post-menopausal women with MS were current smokers and 51% reported current MHT use. Smoking and MHT use had no effect on physical functioning, activities of daily living, or menopausal symptoms. Women with early age at smoking initiation experienced declines in MCS (adjusted β <20 vs. ≥ 25 years: -10.50, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) -2.1 to -18.1; adjusted β 20-24 vs. ≥ 25 years: -8.81, 95% CI: 0.6 to -17.4), but not in PCS. Relative to never MHT users, ever MHT users had higher MCS scores at year 3 compared to baseline (adjusted β: 3.0, 95% CI: 0.4 to 5.6), but no change in PCS. For all adults, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS; Cohen’s d: -3.34), nabixomols (Cohen’s d: -0.61), and dextromethorphan/quinidine (Cohen’s d: -0.22) were reported effective in reducing pain. Conclusions: Smoking prevention efforts should be increased for women with MS. Women with MS may also experience HrQOL gains with MHT, but contemporaneous data on MHT use is needed. TENS may be more effective than pharmacological methods in reducing MS pain.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2013

Included in

Epidemiology Commons