The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) has been instrumental in understanding these differences. SWAN data, collected over 25 years, indicates that menopause can affect cardiovascular health, cognitive processing, and vascular risks differently across racial and ethnic groups. For example, changes in cardiovascular health were more influenced by the menopausal transition itself rather than by aging. Interestingly, the study found that Black women experienced more arterial stiffness earlier than white women, and cardiovascular disease risk at midlife was higher in Black and Hispanic women compared with white and Chinese women.


Racial and ethnic disparities extend to the severity and types of symptoms experienced. Non-Hispanic Asian women reported significantly fewer symptoms and lower total severity compared to other groups. Non-Hispanic white women had higher severity of symptoms like nausea and vomiting, while Hispanic women were more likely to have higher severity scores for constipation, weight gain, and bloating. Non-Hispanic African Americans were more likely to report weight loss. These disparities underscore the complex interplay of biological, social, and environmental factors affecting women’s health during menopause.


Further compounding these disparities, a comprehensive review of SWAN data highlighted the profound impact of racism on Black women’s menopausal transition and health. The review found that Black women were 50% more likely than white women to report hot flashes and were more likely to experience depression and less likely to receive adequate treatment for their symptoms. This analysis stresses the role of discrimination and structural racism in creating health disparities, affecting not just menopausal symptoms but also broader health outcomes such as sleep quality, mental health, and cardiometabolic health.


The Pause Technologies Inc. , Susan Sly and myself are on a mission driven toward supporting the diversity of menopausal experiences as it is crucial for tailoring healthcare and support for women of all backgrounds.


Dr. Mia Chorney

Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer TPT Inc.