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14-11-2013 | Gynaecology | Article

Menopause symptom discrepancy between Spanish natives, immigrants

Abstract

Free abstract

medwireNews: Latin–American immigrants to Spain are less likely to report experiencing hot flashes than their native Spanish counterparts, suggests research published in Menopause.

However, the two populations of women were equally likely to have night sweats or to experience joint symptoms, after adjusting for confounding factors, say Irene Pérez-Alcalá (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain) and co-authors.

“More research, including objective versus self-reported hot flash frequencies, is needed to clarify the differences in reported hot flash frequencies, as the lower reports among immigrants could be a cultural phenomenon rather than a biological phenomenon,” the researchers postulate.

Overall, hot flashes were reported by 41.2% of 301 women aged 45 to 55 years old who had immigrated to Spain from Latin America compared with 46.4% of 274 Spanish women of the same age, giving an odds ratio (OR) of 0.70 in multivariate analysis.

By contrast, 36.9% and 34.7% of the Latin–American and Spanish women said they experienced night sweats, respectively, and 25.2% and 26.3% said they had both types of symptoms.

Multivariate analysis also found that women were more likely to experience hot flashes while perimenopausal than premenopausal (OR=3.4) or postmenopausal (OR=2.3), or after induced menopause (OR=2.1), with similar trends also found for vasomotor symptoms.

And women who reported cardiovascular symptoms such as palpitations, chest pressure, or shortness of breath were more likely to have hot flashes (OR=1.6), night sweats (OR=1.8), and combined symptoms (OR=1.6) than those who did not.

Interestingly, women were believed their health was good or better were less likely to report night sweats or combined symptoms than those who rated their health as poor (OR=0.6 both) but this was not true when hot flashes were considered alone.

“With these results, it seems reasonable to hypothesize that hot flashes alone are not as

inconvenient as night sweats, as night sweats might disturb sleeping patterns and affect rest periods for self-recovery,” the researchers suggest.

Other factors, such as smoking, exercise, body mass index, hormone therapy use, and parity did not significantly predict menopause symptoms, they add.

medwireNews (www.medwirenews.com) is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Lynda Williams, Senior medwireNews Reporter