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An investigation of life circumstances associated with the experience of hot flashes in Campeche, Mexico

Huicochea-Gómez, Laura PhD; Sievert, Lynnette Leidy PhD; Cahuich-Campos, Diana PhD; Brown, Daniel E. PhD

doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000725
Original Articles

Objective: The purpose of this study was to better understand the experience of calores (hot flashes) in the state of Campeche, Mexico, and characteristics of women's lives. This study was carried out to understand the sociocultural context of women's lives before conducting a larger semistructured survey in the same communities.

Methods: Eighty-five women from rural and urban settings participated in open-ended interviews about the menopausal transition, with particular attention to hot flashes. Univariate and logistic regression analyses identified potential determinants of hot flashes. Qualitative responses were analyzed for central themes from the 40 women who experienced “calores” associated with menopause at the time of interview.

Results: The word “calores” was used to describe a variety of sensations and experiences related to the hot climate, infections, going in and out of air-conditioning, emotional stress, and physical exertion, as well as the symptom associated with menopause. In quantitative analyses, the likelihood of experiencing hot flashes varied by menopause status and rural/urban residence. In qualitative analyses, themes that characterized the lives of women with hot flashes were as follows: the search for, and the availability of, biomedical care; presence or absence of networks of social support; marital status and quality of the relationship; and occupational stress.

Conclusions: Hot flash questionnaires can elicit different symptom frequencies depending on the language used and the sociocultural context of women's lives. Qualitative findings suggest that the themes most likely to influence the perception and experience of hot flashes in Campeche are biomedicine, social support, marriage, and stress.

1Department of Society y Culture, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) Unidad Campeche, Campeche, Mexico

2Department of Anthropology, UMass Amherst, Amherst, MA

3Department of Anthropology, UH Hilo, Hilo, HI.

Address correspondence to: Laura Huicochea-Gómez, PhD, Department of Society, Culture, and Health ECOSUR Unidad Campeche Libramiento carretero Campeche Km 1.5 Av.Rancho, Polígono 2-a Parque Industrial de Lerma C.P. 24 500 Campeche, Campeche. E-mail:

Received 24 February, 2016

Revised 15 June, 2016

Accepted 15 June, 2016

Funding/support: National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant #BCS-1156368.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

© 2017 by The North American Menopause Society.