Regional and geographical differences may explain variability in menopausal symptom occurrence due to development of climate-specific thermoneutral zones leading to population-specific hot flash frequencies. Limited information available regarding menopausal symptoms in underserved women living in extreme heat.
Understanding the perception of menopausal symptoms in underserved women living in extreme heat regions to identify if heat impacts perception of menopausal symptoms was the objective of this study. Women in free, low-income, and homeless clinics in Phoenix were surveyed during summer and winter months using a self-administered, written questionnaire including demographic, climate and menopause related questions, including the Green Climacteric Scale (GCS).
A total of 139 predominantly Hispanic (56 %), uninsured (53 %), menopausal (56 %), mid-aged (mean 49.9, SD 10.3) women were surveyed— 36% were homeless or in shelters. Most women were not on menopausal hormone therapy (98 %). Twenty-two percent reported hot flashes and 26% night sweats. Twenty-five percent of women reported previously becoming ill from heat. More women thought season influenced menopausal symptoms during summer than winter (41 % vs. 14 %, p = 0.0009). However, majority of women did not think temperature outside influenced their menopausal symptoms and that did not differ by season (73 % in winter vs. 60% in summer, p=0.1094). No statistically significant differences seen for vasomotor symptoms between winter and summer months.
Regional and geographical differences may be key in understanding the variability in menopausal symptoms. Regardless of season, the menopausal, underserved and homeless women living in Arizona reported few vasomotor symptoms. In the summer, they were more likely to report that the season influenced their menopausal symptoms rather than temperature suggesting an influence of the season on symptom perception.