Hot flashes and night sweats affect up to 75% of women in the US who are going through menopause. Though common, these symptoms can significantly impact a woman's quality of life. But how long do they last? According to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, many women may experience these symptoms frequently for at least 7 years.
Women are likely to experience frequent hot flashes and night sweats for at least 7 years during menopause.
Collectively, hot flashes and night sweats are referred to as vasomotor symptoms (VMS). As well as making menopausal women feel uncomfortable, VMS can reduce energy levels, disturb sleep and affect social functioning and overall quality of life.
According to the research team, including Nancy E. Avis of the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC, there is a "lack of robust estimates" of how long women may experience VMS.
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) say VMS can last between 6 months to 2 years, though they note that some studies suggest the symptoms can persist for 3-5 years, with some women experiencing them for 10 years or more.
For their study, Avis and colleagues set out to identify the average length of time women may experience frequent VMS during menopausal transition - defined as having hot flashes or night sweats over at least 6 days in the past 2 weeks. They also wanted to identify risk factors for longer VMS duration.