Background: Hot flashes affect up to 75% of women undergoing the menopausal transition. They are among the most common health problems for perimenopausal women and are associated with a decrease in quality of life. The goal of this study was to examine the associations between reproductive history variables and midlife hot flashes. Methods: Data were analyzed from 388 perimenopausal women who participated in the Midlife Health Study, a population-based, cross-sectional study of 639 women aged 45-54 years living in the Baltimore metropolitan region. Results: The unadjusted analyses showed that none of the reproductive history variables analyzed, including age at menarche, number of live births, ever having been pregnant, age at first birth, age at last pregnancy, and history of oral contraceptive use, were associated with ever experiencing hot flashes. However, after adjusting for race, age group, marital status, education, employment, total family income, smoking and alcohol status, and body mass index (BMI), age at last pregnancy was significantly associated with moderate to severe hot flashes. Specifically, participants who were ≥36 years of age at last pregnancy were less likely to report moderate or severe hot flashes than those ≤35 years of age at last pregnancy (odds ratio 0.36, 95% confidence interval 0.16, 0.84). Conclusions: In this study, in general, characteristics of reproductive history were not associated with midlife hot flashes. However, there are a number of potentially modifiable factors that are associated with the occurrence of hot flashes. Thus, alternatives may be available when hormone treatment is contraindicated.
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