Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Study Finds More than A Third of Women Have Hot Flashes 10 Years after Menopause

Results Contrast with Guidelines Recommending Hormone Therapy Should Not Exceed 5 Years

A team of researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has found that moderate to severe hot flashes continue, on average, for nearly 5 years after menopause, and more than a third of women experience moderate/severe hot flashes for 10 years or more after menopause.

Current guidelines recommend that hormone therapy, the primary medical treatment for hot flashes, not continue for more than 5 years. However, in the new study published online this week in the journal Menopause, the authors write that “empirical evidence supporting the recommended 3- to 5-year hormone therapy for management of hot flashes is lacking.”

Hot flashes are episodes of intense radiating heat experienced by many women around the time of menopause. They can result in discomfort, embarrassment, and disruption of sleep. Changing hormone levels are believed to cause hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms such as insomnia, fatigue, memory and concentration problems, anxiety, irritability, and joint and muscle pain.

In hormone therapy, medications containing female hormones replace the ones the body stops making during menopause. While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is considered the most effective treatment for hot flashes, it is not appropriate for all women. In addition, concerns about health hazards linked to HRT have made some doctors less likely to prescribe it, or to adhere strictly to recommended duration guidelines.

“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 the study’s lead author, Ellen W. Freeman, PhD, research professor in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Penn Medicine. “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.”

The study evaluated 255 women in the Penn Ovarian Aging Study who reached natural menopause over a 16-year period (1996-2012). The results indicate that 80 percent (203) reported moderate/severe hot flashes, 17 percent (44) had only mild hot flashes, and three percent (8) reported no hot flashes.

In addition, obese white women and African American women (both obese and non-obese) had the greatest risk of moderate/severe hot flashes during the period studied, whereas non-obese white women had the lowest risk. The increased risk of hot flashes in obese women has previously been associated with lower levels of estradiol (the most potent estrogen produced by women’s bodies) before menopause, but the new finding that non-obese African-American women also have a greater risk of hot flashes remains unexplained. An earlier report from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation indicated that African-American women may be more likely to report hot flashes and also have greater symptom sensitivity, suggesting that cultural differences may affect hot flash reporting, but further evidence is needed.

The Penn study also found a 34 percent lower risk of hot flashes among women with education beyond high school, a finding that researchers say also calls for additional study.

In addition to Freeman, other Penn co-authors are Mary D. Sammel, ScD, from the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Richard J. Sanders.

This study was supported by National Institutes of Health grants RO1 AG12745 and UL1TR000003.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 16 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $398 million awarded in the 2012 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; Chester County Hospital; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2012, Penn Medicine provided $827 million to benefit our community.

Katie Delach | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Antioxidants cause malignant melanoma to metastasize faster
09.10.2015 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Finding cannabinoids in hair does not prove cannabis consumption
07.10.2015 | Universitätsklinikum Freiburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Reliable in-line inspections of high-strength automotive body parts within seconds

Nondestructive material testing (NDT) is a fast and effective way to analyze the quality of a product during the manufacturing process. Because defective materials can lead to malfunctioning finished products, NDT is an essential quality assurance measure, especially in the manufacture of safety-critical components such as automotive B-pillars. NDT examines the quality without damaging the component or modifying the surface of the material. At this year's Blechexpo trade fair in Stuttgart, Fraunhofer IZFP will have an exhibit that demonstrates the nondestructive testing of high-strength automotive body parts using 3MA. The measurement results are available in a matter of seconds.

To minimize vehicle weight and fuel consumption while providing the highest level of crash safety, automotive bodies are reinforced with elements made from...

Im Focus: Kick-off for a new era of precision astronomy

The MICADO camera, a first light instrument for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), has entered a new phase in the project: by agreeing to a Memorandum of Understanding, the partners in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Italy, have all confirmed their participation. Following this milestone, the project's transition into its preliminary design phase was approved at a kick-off meeting held in Vienna. Two weeks earlier, on September 18, the consortium and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which is building the telescope, have signed the corresponding collaboration agreement.

As the first dedicated camera for the E-ELT, MICADO will equip the giant telescope with a capability for diffraction-limited imaging at near-infrared...

Im Focus: Locusts at the wheel: University of Graz investigates collision detector inspired by insect eyes

Self-driving cars will be on our streets in the foreseeable future. In Graz, research is currently dedicated to an innovative driver assistance system that takes over control if there is a danger of collision. It was nature that inspired Dr Manfred Hartbauer from the Institute of Zoology at the University of Graz: in dangerous traffic situations, migratory locusts react around ten times faster than humans. Working together with an interdisciplinary team, Hartbauer is investigating an affordable collision detector that is equipped with artificial locust eyes and can recognise potential crashes in time, during both day and night.

Inspired by insects

Im Focus: Physicists shrink particle accelerator

Prototype demonstrates feasibility of building terahertz accelerators

An interdisciplinary team of researchers has built the first prototype of a miniature particle accelerator that uses terahertz radiation instead of radio...

Im Focus: Simple detection of magnetic skyrmions

New physical effect: researchers discover a change of electrical resistance in magnetic whirls

At present, tiny magnetic whirls – so called skyrmions – are discussed as promising candidates for bits in future robust and compact data storage devices. At...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing healthcare and sustainably strengthening healthcare systems

01.10.2015 | Event News

Conference in Brussels: Tracking and Tracing the Smallest Marine Life Forms

30.09.2015 | Event News

World Alzheimer`s Day – Professor Willnow: Clearer Insights into the Development of the Disease

17.09.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Unexpected information about Earth's climate history from Yellow River sediment

09.10.2015 | Earth Sciences

Single atom alloy platinum-copper catalysts cut costs, boost green technology

09.10.2015 | Life Sciences

Indefatigable Hearing

09.10.2015 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>