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Premenopausal vasomotor symptoms in an ethnically diverse population

Reed, Susan D. MD, MPH1,2; Lampe, Johanna W. PhD2; Qu, Conghui MS2; Copeland, Wade K. MS2; Gundersen, Gabrielle BA1; Fuller, Sharon BA1; Newton, Katherine M. PhD1

doi: 10.1097/GME.0b013e3182952228
Original Articles

Objective 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.

Methods 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.

Results 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).

Conclusions 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.

From the 1Group Health Research Institute, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; and 2Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA.

Received February 13, 2013; revised and accepted April 1, 2013.

Funding/support: This study was funded by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co Ltd.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Susan D. Reed, MD, MPH, Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Epidemiology, Box 359865, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98195. E-mail:

© 2014 by The North American Menopause Society.