When a woman hears the word menopause she may associate it with symptoms such as mood swings, low sex drive, headaches, loss of period and hot flashes. Each woman encounters menopause differently, which means some symptoms can last for months or even a few years. With this in mind, a new study released by a team of researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania reported that more than a third of women experience moderate and severe hot flashes for 10 years or more after menopause.
Menopause and hot flashes are experienced by millions of women worldwide. Hot flashes are episodes of intense heat feelings coming from within and at times cover the majority of a woman's body and face. This experience results in a number of discomforting situations throughout the day and have been known to interfere with sleep.
Menopause does not require medical treatment, but instead medication focuses on relieving signs and symptoms to manage chronic conditions that are likely to occur. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is currently the most effective option for relieving menopausal hot flashes, but current guidelines suggest that treatment be provided for no more than five years.
Researchers concentrated their study with 255 older women and found that 80 percent of them were experiencing moderate-to-severe hot flashes during menopause, 17 percent mild hot flashes and 3 percent experienced no hot flashes. Obese white women and black women (regardless of weight) were most likely to experience moderate and severe hot flashes, while non-obese white women were at the lowest risk.
Interestingly in the study, published in the journal Menopause, researchers found that the average time a woman experienced moderate-to-severe hot flashes was nearly five years after menopause. The study also reported that more than a third of women experienced moderate-to-severe hot flashes for 10 years or more after menopause.
While the report cannot change medical guidelines, the overall goal is to express the importance of individualized treatment for women experiencing severe symptoms for such a significant amount of time. This also should give menopausal women a second opinion that although certain side effects may occur, treatment to manage severe symptoms cannot be withheld.
Many forms of hormone and nonhormone therapy for menopausal symptoms are available. As always we recommend to schedule an appointment at Complete Healthcare for Women, where our physicians can discuss with you the best treatment plan suitable for you.