Some women may be genetically predisposed to hot flashes.

University of California at Los Angeles scientists identified gene variants that affect a brain receptor that regulates the release of estrogen.

These variants increase the likelihood that women will experience hot flashes.

The associations with these variants were similar across several races and persisted even after the team accounted for factors that may influence hot flashes.

Study authors hope their findings may lead to new treatments to help ease menopausal symptoms -- but they admit more research is needed to understand how other rare gene variants could affect hot flashes.

Findings will appear in the journal Menopause.