Objective: This study applies a biocultural perspective to better understand the determinants of hot flashes and night sweats within immigrant and local populations in Madrid, Spain.
Methods: A combined sample of 575 women from Madrid, aged 45 to 55 years, was drawn from two studies. The Spanish sample (n = 274) participated in The Decisions At Menopause Study in 2000-2002. The Latin-American sample (n = 301) was drawn from immigrants to Madrid in 2010-2011. χ2 analyses and logistic regression models were carried out on the combined sample, controlling for origin of provenance.
Results: Forty-four percent of women reported hot flashes, 36% reported night sweats, and 26% reported both symptoms. Compared with Spanish women, Latin-American women were less likely to report hot flashes (odds ratio, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.4-0.9), after demographic variables and menopause status were controlled for. The same was not found for night sweats and for both symptoms combined. Determinants of hot flashes differed from determinants of night sweats.
Conclusions: Because their determinants differ, hot flashes and night sweats should be queried and analyzed separately. Latin-American women are less likely to report hot flashes, but not night sweats or both symptoms combined. More research is needed to clarify the differences in reported hot flashes, as the lesser reporting among immigrants could have been a cultural phenomenon rather than a biological phenomenon.