Menopausal symptoms within a Hispanic cohort: SWAN, the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation

Climacteric. 2010 Aug;13(4):376-84. doi: 10.3109/13697130903528272.


Introduction: Since the designation of people as Hispanic involves the amalgamation of a number of different cultures and languages, we sought to test the hypothesis that menopausal symptoms would differ among Hispanic women, based upon country of origin and degree of acculturation.

Methods: A total of 419 women, aged 42-52 years at baseline, were categorized as: Central American (CA, n = 29) or South American (SA, n = 106), Puerto Rican (PR, n = 56), Dominican (D, n = 42), Cuban (Cu, n = 44) and non-Hispanic Caucasian (n = 142). We assessed vasomotor symptoms, vaginal dryness and trouble in sleeping. Hispanics and non-Hispanic Caucasians were compared using the chi(2) test, t test or non-parametric alternatives; ANOVA or Kruskal-Wallis testing examined differences among the five Hispanic sub-groups. Multivariable regression models used PR women as the reference group.

Results: Hispanic women were overall less educated, less acculturated (p < 0.001 for both) than non-Hispanic Caucasians and more of them reported vasomotor symptoms (34.1-72.4% vs. 38.3% among non-Hispanic Caucasians; p = 0.0293) and vaginal dryness (17.9-58.6% vs. 21.1% among non-Hispanic Caucasians, p = 0.0287). Among Hispanics, more CA women reported vasomotor symptoms than D, Cu, SA, or PR women (72.4% vs. 45.2%, 34.1%, 50.9%, and 51.8%, respectively). More CA (58.6%) and D women (38.1%) reported vaginal dryness than PR (17.9%), Cu (25.0%) and SA (31.4%) women. More PR and D women reported trouble in sleeping (66.1 and 64.3%, respectively) compared to CA (51.7%), Cu (36.4%), and SA (45.3%) women.

Conclusion: Symptoms associated with menopause among Hispanic women differed by country of origin but not acculturation. Central American women appear to be at greatest risk for both vasomotor symptoms and vaginal dryness.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Central America / ethnology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cuba / ethnology
  • Dominican Republic / ethnology
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Hot Flashes / epidemiology
  • Hot Flashes / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Menopause / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Puerto Rico / ethnology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / ethnology
  • South America / ethnology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweating
  • Vaginal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Vaginal Diseases / ethnology
  • Women's Health / ethnology*