After menopause, moderate to severe hot flashes continue for up to 5 years, with one-third of women experiencing hot flashes at least 10 years later, according to data published in Menopause.
A total of 255 women who were premenopausal at baseline and reached natural menopause within 16 years were evaluated annually and included in the study analysis.
In each premenopausal year, prevalence of moderate to severe hot flashes increased, peaking at 46% during the first 2 years after final menstrual period, according to the data.
Researchers found a slow decline in hot flashes after menopause, not returning to premenopausal levels until 9 years after final menstrual period. Mean duration of moderate to severe hot flashes was 4.6 years after final menstrual period, and one-third of women still experienced hot flashes for at least 10 years after.
Compared with nonobese white women, obese white women and African-American women, regardless of obesity, were at greater risk for hot flashes (P=.01).
Significant risk factors for hot flashes included increasing follicle-stimulating hormone levels before final menstrual period (P<.001), declining estradiol (OR=0.87; 95% CI, 0.78-0.96) and increasing anxiety (OR=1.05; 95% CI, 1.03-1.06) in multivariable analysis.
In contrast, higher education levels appeared to be protective (OR=0.66; 95% CI, 0.47-0.91).
The researchers concluded that their results suggest that weighing individual risks and benefits before prescribing therapy for menopausal symptoms is important.
This study aims to estimate the risk of hot flashes relative to natural menopause and to evaluate the associations of hormone levels, behavioral variables, and demographic variables with the risk of hot flashes after menopause. We performed annual assessment of 255 women who were premenopausal at baseline and reached natural menopause within 16 years of follow-up.