Menopausal Hot Flashes May Last More Than 7 Years

February 19, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

For some women, frequent menopausal vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats could last for more than 7 years.

For some women, frequent menopausal vasomotor symptoms (VMS) such as hot flashes and night sweats could last for more than 7 years, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers studied menopausal transitions among 3302 multiracial women from 1996 to 2013. Close to 1450 of those women experienced frequent VMS, defined as symptoms that lasted ≥6 days in the previous 2 weeks.

The results showed that the average total VMS duration was 7.4 years during the menopausal transition, and symptoms typically lasted 4.5 years after the final menstrual period.

Women who were premenopausal or early perimenopausal when they first reported frequent VMS experienced the longest-enduring symptoms, with a median of >11.8 years. On the other hand, those who were postmenopausal at the onset of VMS had the shortest duration of symptoms, with a median of 3.4 years.

African-American women tended to experience the longest VMS duration at approximately 10.1 years, compared with other racial groups.

Young age, less education, greater stress, and higher depressive and anxiety symptoms at the first report of VMS may contribute to a longer duration of VMS, the researchers noted.

The study authors suggested that health care professionals could help prepare women—especially African-American women—to expect VMS that last more than 7 years.