The prevalence of vasomotor symptoms (VMS) among women aged 45 years or older who report regular menses has not been described well. Variability by race/ethnicity is expected.
A cross-sectional analysis of Group Health enrollees was performed among women ages 45-56 y with regular and no skipped menses, and not taking hormones. Data were collected from electronic databases and mailed surveys, including a soy food questionnaire. Associations between race/ethnicity and VMS (ever/never; past 2 wk) were assessed using generalized linear models, controlling for age and body mass index. The prevalence of headache and joint pain, and VMS associations within race by soy intake were explored.
A total of 1,513 premenopausal women with a mean age of 48.5 years responded to the survey; 75% were white. Native American women were most likely to report ever having VMS (66.7%), followed by black (61.4%), white (58.3%), Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (45.5%), mixed-ethnicity (42.1%), Vietnamese (40.0%), Filipino (38.9%, P < 0.05), Japanese (35.9%, P < 0.01), East Indian (31.3%, P < 0.05), Chinese (29.0%, P < 0.001), and other Asian (25.6%, P < 0.001) women, as compared with white women. Hispanic women were less likely to have VMS (41.7%) than non-Hispanic white women (58.8%, P < 0.001). Among white women, but not among other women, soy intake was associated with VMS (P = 0.03).
Among a diverse population of premenopausal women, VMS prevalence is high at 55%. Asian (vs white) and Hispanic (vs non-Hispanic white) women are less likely to report ever having VMS, a pattern similar to that observed during the menopausal transition and early postmenopause in our studies. White women with more VMS seem to include more soy in their diet.