Menopausal hot flashes: a review of physiology and biosociocultural perspective on methods of assessment

J Nutr. 2010 Jul;140(7):1380S-5S. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.120840. Epub 2010 May 26.


Hot flashes continue to be a troublesome problem for menopausal women the world over. After >50 y of research, we still do not understand the etiology and mechanism of hot flashes, nor do we know how estrogen, the major pharmaceutical treatment, works to reduce hot flashes. We are gaining insight into sociocultural complexities that may affect how and whether women report hot flashes. And we are becoming more sophisticated in our research tools (be it questionnaires, physiological monitors, or brain imaging techniques). New aspects of hot flash research, including neuroimaging and the study of genetic polymorphisms, when combined with increasingly nuanced ways of asking questions of culturally distinct populations, provide challenges but rich complexity from which a better understanding will emerge.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Hot Flashes*
  • Humans
  • Menopause*
  • Middle Aged