A third of women experience hot flashes ten years after menopause

Hot flashes are among the most unpleasant side effects of menopause. A US study published in «Menopause» has now pointed out the flashes are a long-term problem for many women. More than a third experience them as long as 10 years after menopause.

For the study, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia examined 255 women over a 16-year period (1996-2012). 80 percent (203) reported moderate/severe hot flashes, 17 percent (44) had only mild hot flashes, and three percent (8) reported no hot flashes.

Moderate to severe hot flashes continued, on average, for nearly five years after menopause. However, more than a third of women experienced moderate/severe hot flashes for ten years or more.

Current guidelines recommend that hormone therapy, the primary medical treatment for hot flashes, not continue for more than three to five years. «Our findings point to the importance of individualized treatments that take into account each woman’s risks and benefits when selecting hormone or non-hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms,» said lead author Ellen W. Freeman. Empirical evidence supporting the recommended 3- to 5-year hormone therapy is lacking, the authors explained.