Can hot flashes last longer than a decade?
Vasomotor symptoms can last for a decade of more, depending on time of onset.
The most common complaint of menopausal women, hot flashes, has traditionally been reported to last from anywhere between six months to more than five years. Researchers conducted a prospective population-based cohort study to better understand this bothersome symptom; 259 women between 35 and 47 years of age at the time of enrollment who were not using hormone therapy were observed for 13 years as they experienced menopause.
The study showed that the median duration for moderate-to-severe hot flashes was just over 10 years. Women entering menopausal transition reported occurrences of hot flashes and were more likely to experience a longer median duration (11.2 years) than women who experienced hot flashes later in transition or during the postmenopausal phase (3.8 years). An adjusted analysis also showed that the symptoms persisted longer in African-American women than in Caucasian women and lasted for a shorter time in obese women than in non-obese women.
This study provides an insight into exactly how long that "short time" really is.
(Source: Obstetrics Gynecology, May 2011.)