A new study shows that some women may suffer hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause for up to 14 years. According to the findings, African-American women seem the most affected ethnic group. However, researchers do not recommend that they should be put on hormone therapy due to its serious side-effects in middle-aged women.
The study involved 1,449 women on menopause who displayed menopause symptoms at least 6 days over a 2-week period. Researchers found that hot flashes and night sweats last on average seven and a half years. However, African-American women tend to be affected by menopausal symptoms for an average of 10 years, while others displayed those symptoms for 14 years.
The study also revealed that women having an early menopause were more likely to have a prolonged menopause. Scientists learned that women who still had period when the first flashes were installed ended up having the lengthiest symptoms (nearly 12 years on average). Women who weren’t on period when the hot flashes started had to endure menopause-related symptoms only about three years.
Scientists reported that African-American women had the longest vasomotor symptom duration, as compared with other racial groups, while Asian women reported menopausal symptoms lasting no longer than 5 years. Hispanics, however, had to put up with hot flashes and nigh sweats for an additional 4 years.
“These findings can help health care professionals counsel patients about expectations regarding vasomotor symptoms and assist women in making treatment decisions based on the probability of their (symptoms) persisting,”
the study authors noted.
Dr JoAnn Manson from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and former president of the North American Menopause Society said that women with prolonged menopause symptoms should not take hormone therapy replacement for, let’s say, 14 years.
Studies that had assessed the safety of hormone therapy suggest women should only take the lowest doses for the shortest possible period of time since in middle age hormone therapy boosts the risk of heart disease, and breast and ovarian cancer.
But Dr. Manson believes that short-term therapy may not control the hot flashes and night sweats “for their total duration.” For this reason, she recommends that women turn to more than one treatment when trying to control their symptoms.
She also recommends that younger women who are at their menopause debut should try a short-termed HRT, while older women should consider non-hormone treatments such as paroxetine or other antidepressants.
The recent study on menopause symptoms was recently published in the journal JAMA internal Medicine.
Image Source: Sigma Menopause