Daily physical activity and hot flashes in the Study of Womens Health Across the Nation SWAN Flashes Study

Capsule:
Among midlife women, acute increases in daily physical activity were associated with increased odds of reporting hot flashes lacking physiologic evidence, particularly among women with higher levels of negative affect.

Authors:
Carolyn Gibson, M.P.H., M.S., Karen Matthews, Ph.D., Rebecca Thurston, Ph.D.

Volume 101, Issue 4, Pages 1110-1116

Abstract:

Objective:
To examine the role of physical activity in menopausal hot flashes.

Design:
Physiologic hot flash monitor and activity monitor over two 48-hour periods, with self-report in an electronic diary.

Setting:
Community.

Patient(s):
51 midlife women.

Intervention(s):
None.

Main Outcome Measure(s):
Physiologically detected hot flashes and reported hot flashes with and without physiologic corroboration.

Result(s):
Competing models conceptualize physical activity as a risk or protective factor for hot flashes, but few studies have examined this relationship prospectively using physiologic measures of hot flashes and physical activity. When physiologic hot flashes, reported hot flashes, and reported hot flashes without physiologic corroboration were related to activity changes using hierarchic generalized linear modeling, adjusting for potential confounders, hot flash reports without physiologic corroboration were more likely after activity increases, particularly among women with higher levels of depressive symptoms. No other types of hot flashes were related to physical activity.

Conclusion(s):
Acute increases in physical activity were associated with increased reporting of hot flashes that lacked physiologic corroboration, particularly among women with depressive symptoms. Clinicians should consider the role of symptom perception and reporting in relations between physical activity and hot flashes.

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