Obesity Worsens Hot Flashes, Other Menopausal Symptoms

OCTOBER 05, 2016
Caitlyn Fitzpatrick
women’s health, OBGYN, sex, sexual health, The North American Menopause Society 27th Annual Meeting, NAMS 2016, weight, obesity, hot flashes, muscle pain, joint pain, urogenital, urinary

Adding to the seemingly endless number of reasons for keeping weight under control, a new analysis out of Brazil shows that obesity impacts menopausal symptoms.

But what is the link exactly? Researchers explained at The North American Menopause Society 27th Annual Meeting (NAMS 2016) in Orlando, Florida.

“Understanding this relationship can contribute to the development of health strategies to minimize the impact of obesity on various aspects of women’s health in middle age,” the report said. A total of 749 women ages 45 to 60 were included in the study. The team conducted household interviews – which were selected through census tracts. Of the participants, 16% were premenopausal, 16% were perimenopausal, and 68% were postmenopausal. The Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) questionnaire determined the intensity of their menopausal symptoms.

The women’s body mass index (BMI) were grouped into three categories: less than 25 kg, between 25 and 29.9, and more than 30 kg. There were not significant differences between the groups when it came to sociodemographic characteristics. However, obese women were less physically active and had higher rates of hypertension, diabetes urinary incontinence, and urgency.

The average MRS score was 9.7, and of the 11 symptoms included on the questionnaire, only three of them are associated with BMI.
  • Hot flashes: Scores increased progressively and were higher in those with a BMI of 30 kg and higher
  • Muscle and joint pain: Increased with higher BMI
  • Urogenital symptoms: Urinary problems was the only symptom in this category that showed differences – being the most intense in women with a higher BMI
The findings indicate that these three menopausal symptoms correlate with obesity, and reinforces the importance of maintaining a healthy weight.

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