Vasomotor symptoms in women in Asia

Vasomotor symptoms in women in Asia appear comparable with women in Western countries: a systematic review

Objective: There is a belief that menopausal symptoms, particularly vasomotor symptoms (VMS), are a Western phenomena and less likely to be experienced in women in Asian countries. This systematic review of the literature was undertaken to evaluate the prevalence of VMS in Asian countries.

Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, SCOPUS, and Google scholar were searched systematically for relevant population-based prevalence studies published between 1981 and 2016. The included studies were assessed for risk of bias using a risk-of-bias tool developed explicitly for the systematic review of prevalence studies.

Results: A total of 43 articles, comprising 31,945 women, were included. In South Asian and Middle Eastern countries, the prevalence of VMS in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women reported by studies that used random sampling and validated questionnaires was comparable with that reported for Western countries. The other Asian studies that used convenience-sampling procedures, irrespective of questionnaire validation, provided more disparate results. The reasons for the variation in reporting of prevalences of VMS in the included studies are likely to be a function of methodological issues, rather than ethnic, cultural, or socioeconomic differences. Most of the included studies had a medium-to-high risk of bias.

Conclusions: The reported prevalences of VMS in Asia, particularly in South Asian and Middle Eastern countries, are consistent across studies that used random sampling and validated questionnaires, and are comparable with those in Western countries. Data from nationally representative studies that employ validated instruments are still needed in several Asian countries to ascertain the true prevalence of VMS.

Islam RM, Bell RH, Rizvi F, Davis SR. Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society. Vol 24, No.11.