Acculturation Affects Menopause in Hispanic Women

Acculturation Affects Menopause in Hispanic Women
Acculturation Affects Menopause in Hispanic Women
Hispanic women in the U.S. with a lower level of acculturation experience more severe menopausal symptoms.

Among Hispanic women, those born outside the United States experienced increased severity and frequency of menopause-related vasomotor symptoms and skin irritation, according to data presented at the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) 2014 Annual Meeting.

The study included a sample of Hispanic women aged 40 to 60 years who completed a survey. To qualify, each woman had to have an intact uterus, at least one ovary and no current use of exogenous hormonal therapies.

Level of acculturation was based on country of origin, preferred language and length of time spent living in the U.S. To compare menopause symptoms between U.S.-born and non-U.S.-born Hispanic women, researchers used Fisher’s Exact Test, Wilcoxon Rank test and correlations analyses where appropriate.

The 73 Hispanic women born in the U.S. had significantly more years of education (P<.0001), fewer children (P<.0001) and more migraine headaches (P<.005) compared with the 223 non-U.S. born Hispanic women.

There were no significant differences between the two groups for age, BMI, marital status, thyroid problems, high blood pressure, depression or menarche age.

Between a group of 54 U.S.-born Hispanic women and 142 non-U.S.-born Hispanic women, , there were significant differences in symptom severity for hot flashes and skin irritation using the Wilcoxon Rank test for the five-point Likert scale ranging from 0 (none) to 4 (severe). Non-U.S.-born, perimenopausal Hispanic women were 2.4 times more likely to experience moderate to severe hot flashes and 2.8 times more likely to experience skin irritation than U.S.-born Hispanics.

Researchers did not find vasomotor differences between the two groups of menopausal age, possibly due to acculturation, though the non-U.S.-born group reported higher incidence of hot flashes in the perimenopausal phase than the U.S.-born group. However, this was not the case during the later stage of menopause.

The results of this study suggest that environmental factors within a heterogeneous ethnic group of women may affect their menopausal experience, the researchers wrote in an abstract. They note that further research on an epidemiological level is needed to better understand and treat menopausal symptoms in the U.S. Hispanic population.


  1. Ali N et al. Abstract P-30. Presented at: North American Menopause Society (NAMS) 2014 Annual Meeting; Oct. 15-18, 2014; Washington, D.C.