Battling Hot Flashes Long After Menopause

Menopause symptoms last for many years

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) If you’re in those menopause years, you’re likely to see the most common symptoms – hot flashes and night sweats.  They may not go away anytime soon.

Many women continue to have menopause related symptoms for five years, or even 10 years in some cases.

The study, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, tracked more than 10,000 women who hadn’t menstruated – or had been on hormone replacement therapy for menopause - for at least a year.

"Ask you doctor managing 'hot-flashes'."

At the start of the study, the women filled out a basic questionnaire (which included information on height, weight, medical history, etc.). Three and a half years later, the women completed another questionnaire about the lifestyle, skirt size at age 20 and current skirt size, hormone therapy use, and menopause symptoms.

Researchers found that nearly 90% of women had experienced hot flashes and night sweats at some time; more women had hot flashes (89.6%) compared to night sweats (78%). Also, more than half of the women were experiencing hot flashes and night sweats frequently - about 34 times per week.

The women were between 54 and 65 years old, and most were white, living in an urban area and were upper middle-class. Researchers looked at a number of factors: their body mass index (BMI); whether they had a hysterectomy or hormone therapy; their lifestyle and mood when they experienced hot flashes and night sweats.

The researchers report that women were more likely to continue to experience symptoms if they were currently taking hormone therapy.

The study’s researchers said they were able to predict whether a woman would experience symptoms – and if she was experiencing them at the time of the study - based on whether she had anxiety, hysterectomy or a depressed mood, and also by how long she had been without menstruation and her education level.

Age didn’t affect whether women experienced menopause symptoms or how frequent the attacks were, said study co-author Dr. Myra Hunter, a professor at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London.

She adds that there is a need for effective treatment for women with persistent hot flashes and night sweats, as well as for those who experience hot flashes after stopping hormone therapy.

To relieve the discomfort of menopausal symptoms, doctors prescribe hormone therapies that contain estrogen, progestogen (another type of hormone) or a combination of the two.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 21, 2011
Last Updated:
October 22, 2011