Is an unfavourable cardiovascular risk profile a risk factor for vasomotor menopausal symptoms? Results of a population-based cohort study

M. J. van den Berg, G. C. M. Herber-Gast, Y. T. van der Schouw*

*Corresponding author for this work

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ObjectiveEvidence suggests an association between vasomotor menopausal symptoms (VMSs), i.e. hot flushes and night sweats, and cardiovascular disease. However, the causal pathway is unclear. We investigated whether an unfavourable cardiovascular risk profile is a risk factor for VMS later in life. DesignRetrospective cohort study. SettingWomen aged 50-70 from the general population. PopulationThe Prospect-European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (Prospect-EPIC) cohort is a population-based cohort of women who enrolled between 1993 and 1997. Follow-up questionnaires were sent at 5-year intervals for 15 years. Women who returned the third questionnaire, answered questions regarding lifetime VMS and did not report VMS prior to baseline were included in this study (n = 1295). MethodsAt baseline, the Framingham Risk Score (FRS) was determined. We used logistic regression analysis to calculate odds ratios (ORs) for the association between baseline FRS and incident VMS. Main outcome measureIncident VMS. ResultsAt baseline (mean agestandard deviation, 52.2 +/- 3.6years), 21.2% had a FRS>10%. During follow-up, 40.2% of women reported the onset of VMS. Adjusted for body mass index, physical activity, education and alcohol consumption, each point increase in FRS was associated with a decreased incidence of VMS [OR, 0.94 (95% CI, 0.91-0.97)]. Additional adjustment for menopausal status attenuated the OR to null [OR, 0.98 (95% CI, 0.95-1.01)]. None of the separate FRS variables were associated with VMS after adjustment for age. ConclusionsIn our cohort, an unfavourable cardiovascular risk profile was not associated with VMS, and therefore we found no evidence for the involvement of a vascular mechanism in the etiology of VMS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1252-1258
JournalBjog-an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • Cardiovascular risk profile
  • Framingham Risk Score
  • vasomotor menopausal symptoms
  • VMS

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