Lifestyle and Demographic Factors in Relation to Vasomotor Symptoms: Baseline Results from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation

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Results of recent trials highlight the risks of hormone therapy, increasing the importance of identifying preventive lifestyle factors related to menopausal symptoms. The authors examined the relation of such factors to vasomotor symptoms in the multiethnic sample of 3,302 women, aged 42–52 years at baseline (1995–1997), in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN). All lifestyle factors and symptoms were self-reported. Serum hormone and gonadotropin concentrations were measured once in days 2–7 of the menstrual cycle. After adjustment for covariates using multiple logistic regression, significantly more African-American and Hispanic and fewer Chinese and Japanese than Caucasian women reported vasomotor symptoms. Fewer women with postgraduate education reported vasomotor symptoms. Passive exposure to smoke, but not active smoking, higher body mass index, premenstrual symptoms, perceived stress, and age were also significantly associated with vasomotor symptoms, although a dose-response relation with hours of smoke exposure was not observed. No dietary nutrients were significantly associated with vasomotor symptoms. These cross-sectional findings require further longitudinal exploration to identify lifestyle changes for women that may help prevent vasomotor symptoms.

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