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Vasomotor symptoms, sleep problems, and depressive symptoms in community-dwelling Japanese women

Makiko Tomida 1Rei Otsuka 1Chikako Tange 1Yukiko Nishita 1Tomomi Kimura 2Matthias Stoelzel 3Keiko Tanaka-Amino 4Hiroshi Shimokata 1 5Masakazu Terauchi 6

J Obstet Gynaecol Res doi: 10.1111/jog.14937. Online ahead of print.


Aim: To assess prevalence and characteristics of vasomotor symptoms in community-dwelling Japanese women.

Methods: These were cross-sectional analyses using data from the National Institute for Longevity Sciences-Longitudinal Study of Aging. The main outcome measures were prevalence and severity of hot flashes and sweating. Associations between hot flashes/sweating (slight, moderate, or severe vs none) and sleep problems were explored using logistic regression, with and without adjustment for age, daily physical activity, and number of urinations/night. Associations between hot flashes/sweating and sleep problems, depressive symptoms, and dietary variables were explored in logistic regression models or general linear models.

Results: A total of 1152 women between 40 and 91 years of age were enrolled. Hot flashes were reported by 24.5% of participants; with prevalence and severity highest in those 50-54 years or 2-5 years postmenopause. Sleep problems were reported 15 percentage points more frequently by women who reported hot flashes than by those without hot flashes. Adjusted odds ratios [95% CI] for difficulty in falling asleep and difficulty in sleeping through were 2.09 [1.565-2.796] and 2.07 [1.549-2.763]), respectively. Also, hot flashes were associated with higher risk of depressive symptoms (adjusted odds ratio [95% CI]: 2.99 [2.07-4.32]) and lower life satisfaction, self-esteem, and self-rated health status. A similar pattern was observed in women with and without sweating. No associations were found between hot flashes and dietary factors.

Conclusions: Clear associations were found between hot flashes and sleeping problems, even after adjusting for potential confounding factors. Women who reported hot flashes also reported worse mental and physical health than those who did not report hot flashes.