The International Menopause Study of Climate, Altitude, Temperature (IMS-CAT) and vasomotor symptoms

Climacteric. 2013 Feb;16(1):8-16. doi: 10.3109/13697137.2012.699563. Epub 2012 Sep 4.


Objective: To examine the relationship between climate (including altitude, temperature, humidity and annual range of temperature) and experience of hot flushes and night sweats amongst Spanish-speaking mid-aged women living in five urban centers.

Methods: A total of 896 peri- and postmenopausal women from centers in Chile (Santiago de Chile), Ecuador (Guayaquil and Quito), Panama (Panama City) and Spain (Madrid) completed questionnaires eliciting information about sociodemographics, hot flushes (prevalence, frequency and problem-rating), health and lifestyle (body mass index, diet, exercise, alcohol use) and mood (Women's Health Questionnaire).

Results: There was a wide range of altitude and temperature in the participating centers. Of the sample, 58.5% (524/896) were currently experiencing vasomotor symptoms. Prevalence was associated with higher temperatures, while hot flushes were more frequent and problematic for women living in higher temperature and lower altitudes. Hot flush variables were not associated with seasonal variation in temperature. When health and lifestyle variables were included as covariates in regression analyses, prevalence was best predicted by age (younger), poor general health, more depressed mood and anxiety; hot flush frequency by anxiety, temperature, life satisfaction (lower), age (higher), regular strenuous exercise (more strenuous exercise more frequent), and a diet including regular hot spicy food intake. Hot flush problem-rating was best predicted by anxiety, life satisfaction, altitude (lower more problematic), any regular exercise (more exercise less problematic), and depressed mood.

Conclusions: In this study of Spanish-speaking women, those living in countries with higher temperatures and lower altitudes reported more frequent and problematic hot flushes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Altitude*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Chile
  • Climate*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Ecuador
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Food
  • Hot Flashes / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperhidrosis / epidemiology*
  • Language
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Panama
  • Perimenopause / physiology*
  • Perimenopause / psychology
  • Postmenopause / physiology*
  • Postmenopause / psychology
  • Prevalence
  • Spain
  • Temperature*
  • Urban Population
  • Vasomotor System / physiology