-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Jan. 31, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Many women continue to
have hot flashes for years after menopause, a new study finds.
Researchers looked at 255 older women and found that 80 percent
of them had moderate-to-severe hot flashes during menopause, 17
percent had mild hot flashes and 3 percent had no hot flashes.
Obese white women and black women (whether obese or not) were
most likely to have moderate-to-severe hot flashes, while non-obese
white women had the lowest risk. Women who had more than a high
school education had a 34 percent lower risk of hot flashes, a
finding that calls for additional study, the University of
Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine researchers said.
They also found that moderate-to-severe hot flashes continued
for an average of nearly five years after menopause. And more than
one-third of women had moderate-to-severe hot flashes for 10 years
or more after menopause, according to the study published online
this week in the journal
Hormone replacement therapy is the primary medical treatment for
hot flashes, according to the researchers. Current guidelines
recommend that the treatment be used for no longer than five years.
But the Penn researchers said there's a lack of evidence to support
the recommended three- to five-year limits on the use of hormone
They noted that concerns about health issues linked to hormone
therapy -- such as cancer and cardiovascular problems -- make some
doctors reluctant to prescribe it, or they stick to the recommended
time limits on its use.
"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," study author Ellen Freeman, a research professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology, said in a university news release.
"While leading non-hormone therapies such as Paxil or Escitalopram may provide some relief of menopausal symptoms for some women, for others, they may not be as effective as hormone-based therapy," she added.
The U.S. Office on Women's Health has more about
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