There are limited data on the factors associated with menopausal hot flashes, a common and potentially morbid condition. The objective of this study was to identify predictors of menopausal hot flashes. To meet this objective, 233 naturally perimenopausal or postmenopausal women (ages 45-65) attending a large urban hospital center primary care clinic, mammography unit, or women's health practice were enrolled. The women responded to a self-administered questionnaire assessing selected demographic factors, reproductive history, and behavioral factors. Sixty-seven percent of respondents experienced hot flashes, with 63% reporting frequent hot flashes (at least one hot flash per day) and 60% with hot flashes describing the hot flashes as severe. Women with hot flashes were significantly more likely to have mothers who experienced hot flashes (OR = 4.4, CI = 2.0-10.0) or to be smokers (OR = 2.0, CI = 1.2-3.5). There were no statistically significant associations between hot flashes and other selected demographic, reproductive, or behavior characteristics. These results reveal that menopausal hot flashes are associated with a maternal history of hot flashes as well as with cigarette smoking. These results may help physicians to counsel their patients about smoking cessation.
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