Childhood maltreatment linked to frequent vasomotor symptoms during sleep
Women exposed to childhood abuse and neglect experience more frequent physiologically detected vasomotor symptoms during sleep, a study has found.
The study included 295 nonsmoking perimenopausal and postmenopausal women aged 40–60 years with and without vasomotor symptoms, among whom 44 percent reported maltreatment during childhood.
All participants completed psychosocial evaluation—including the Child Trauma Questionnaire—ambulatory physiologic (sternal skin conductance) and self-report assessment of vasomotor symptoms during wake and sleep, and actigraphy measurement of sleep.
Results showed that among women reporting vasomotor symptoms, childhood abuse correlated with greater frequency of physiologically recorded vasomotor symptoms during sleep (sexual abuse: b, 1.45; p=0.006; physical abuse: b, 0.97; p=0.03) in multivariable linear regression models adjusted for demographics, body mass index and menopause stage.
Specifically, the number of sleep vasomotor symptoms was approximately 1.5–2-fold higher in the group of women with a physical or sexual abuse history than in the group of those without such a history.
Childhood maltreatment has been associated with adverse health outcomes, and the findings suggest that the adverse effect of experiencing abuse and neglect during childhood extends to the menopause transition—a universal transition for women often accompanied by troubling symptoms such as vasomotor symptoms, according to the researchers.