Washington: A new study has revealed that more than half of middle-aged women who still have regular cycles have hot flashes.
According to a survey of some 1,500 women, Asian and Hispanic women are less likely to have them than white women, but compared with previous studies, the figures are surprisingly high.
The survey, conducted by researchers at Group Health (a large healthcare system in the Pacific Northwest) and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, consisted of a diverse group of women, including whites, blacks, Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, women of mixed ethnicity, Vietnamese, Filipinos, Japanese, East Indians, Chinese, and other Asians.
The women were 45 to 56 years old, had regular cycles, had not skipped periods, and were not taking hormones.
A surprising 55 percent of them reported having hot flashes or night sweats. (Previous studies pegged the highest rates at below 50 percent.)
The groups with the highest proportions reporting hot flashes or night sweats were Native Americans (67 percent) and black (61 percent) women, but the differences between these groups and white women weren`t statistically significant.
58 percent of white women, the largest ethnic group, reported having hot flashes or night sweats.
Compared with them, Asian and Hispanic women were significantly less likely to have these symptoms. Among Asian women, 31 percent of Filipino, 26 percent of Japanese, 25 percent of East Indian, 23 percent of "other Asian," and 18 percent of Chinese women reported having hot flashes or night sweats. 26 percent of Hispanic women reported these symptoms.
Interestingly, white women who had symptoms were more likely to include soy in their diet, and white women who never had symptoms were more likely to have no soy in their diet.
The research is published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).