For Many Women, Hot Flashes Continue 7 Years After Menopause

What You Need to Know: More than half of women experience menopause-relatedhot flashes and night sweats for 7 years or more.

The Evidence: Nancy Avis, PhD, a professor of social sciences and health policy at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and colleagues collected data on 1,449 women who took part in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) from February 1996 through April 2013. All reported having frequent hot flashes and night sweats for at least 6 days in the past 2 weeks.

  • The researchers found that, on average, these symptoms lasted for 7.4 years, but in general, the earlier symptoms started, the longer they continued.
  • Those who had hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms before menopause suffered longest — 11.8 years was the midpoint for that group.
  • Women who underwent early menopause suffered symptoms for roughly 9.4 years.
  • Women whose hot flashes and night sweats started after menopause reported symptoms for 3.4 years on average.
  • Race and ethnicity seemed to have some bearing on symptom duration. Black women reported the longest duration of symptoms — 10.1 years. Japanese and Chinese women suffered the shortest length of time — 4.8 and 5.4 years, respectively. Among white women, 6.5 years was the midpoint, and among Hispanic women, it was 8.9 years.

My Take: Women today have more options for managing the symptoms of menopause. Continued research in this area holds promise for further advances that will guide future care of women experiencing hot flashes. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

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References:

  1. Avis NE et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8063.
  2. Richard-Davis G, Manson J. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8099.

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understandcancerin60minutes

Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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