Why Do Menopause Symptoms Vary? A Recent Study Reveals New Clues

During the menopause transition, hot flashes and night sweats don’t affect all women the same. Researchers over the years have attempted to address variation in symptom intensity, duration and onset. A new study now reveals how genetics may play a role. 

“Our research team was interested in the genetic factors that influence reproductive aging, hormone levels and trajectories, and the symptoms of the menopausal transition,” says Jennifer Smith, a genetic epidemiologist at the University of Michigan. “We (monitored) vasomotor symptoms before and during menopause, specifically, hot flashes and night sweats.”

The study, published this Spring in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), reports that some of the same genetic factors that affect a woman’s reproductive life cycle may also help predict her likelihood of having bothersome hot flashes, and the severity and frequency of those symptoms. Factors shown to affect reproductive aging and likely to influence a woman’s experience with hot flashes include the age at menarche and the age at menopause.

 More than 1,200 women of various ethnicities participated in the study, which found that genetic factors associated with aging of the reproductive system and linked to menopausal symptoms differ across racial/ethnic groups.

The study's findings are a promising next step toward better treatment and management of a woman's menopausal symptoms based, in part, on her genetics.

Researchers created a video highlighting their results that can be found at: https://links.lww.com/MENO/A761.

Results are published online here in an article titled “Genetic variants predictive of reproductive aging are associated with vasomotor symptoms in a multiracial/ethnic cohort.”

 

 



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