Determinants of hot flashes and night sweats

Ann Hum Biol. 2006 Jan-Feb;33(1):4-16. doi: 10.1080/03014460500421338.


Primary objective: The purpose of this study was to identify determinants of hot flashes and night sweats, two vasomotor symptoms associated with the hormonal changes of the menopause transition.

Methods: Participants were 293 women, aged 45 to 55, randomly selected from automated demographic and membership records of a health maintenance organization in the northeast USA. Letters were mailed to eligible women, followed by face-to-face interviews.

Results: Hot flashes during the month before interview were reported by 57% of the participants, although only 9% of the entire sample reported hot flashes to be "bothersome". Night sweats were reported by 36% of all participants, with 6% reporting night sweats to be "bothersome". Fifty-four percent of women reporting hot flashes also reported night sweats. In logistic regression analyses that controlled for menopause status and use of hormone therapy (HT), daily alcohol consumption significantly increased the risk of hot flashes, night sweats, and bothersome night sweats. Higher education and an excellent self-rating of health decreased the risk of night sweats, but not hot flashes. Smoking increased the risk of bothersome hot flashes, but not bothersome night sweats.

Conclusions: In logistic regression analyses, alcohol consumption was a significant predictor of vasomotor symptoms. A slightly different set of variables were associated with hot flashes compared to night sweats.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Cohort Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Hot Flashes / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Logistic Models
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires