Monday, July 3, 2023

how long do hot flashes last during menopause?

 Menopause is a physiological occurrence that signifies the cessation of menstrual cycles. Diagnosis of menopause is established after twelve consecutive months without menstruation[1]. While typically occurring around the age of 50, it can also manifest in women's forties or fifties, with an average onset age in the United States being 51 years old[1].

 

Symptoms

During the menopausal transition, fluctuations in hormone levels can disrupt a woman's menstrual cycle and give rise to symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia[2]. As the onset of menopause draws nearer, women may also experience other symptoms including dyspareunia, urinary dysfunction, and irregular periods[2]. Although each woman's experience with menopause is unique, some commonly reported symptoms include anxiety, depression, cognitive impairment or difficulty concentrating on tasks at hand; memory loss; decreased libido; dryness of skin or mucous membranes (e.g., mouth and eyes); frequent urination; tender breasts; headaches; palpitations or tachycardia; urinary tract infections (UTIs); diminished muscle mass/strength/energy level(s); joint pain or stiffness due to inflammation/arthritis-like conditions affecting joints throughout the body systemically over time--causing chronic pain syndrome(s) in certain cases where there are underlying medical conditions present that exacerbate these symptoms further still. Osteoporosis-related bone loss leading to an increased risk for fractures is also common during this period. Women may notice less fullness in their breasts as well as hair thinning/loss accompanied by increased growth on other areas of the body like face neck chest upper back region[s][3].

 

Hot flashes, also known as hot flushes, stand out as the prevailing menopausal symptom. Approximately seventy-five percent of women undergo this experience [2]. Albeit conventional medical beliefs suggest that menopause-related hot flashes subside after 6 to 24 months, a recent study reveals that these symptoms persist for an average duration of seven years and may continue up to eleven years or beyond in some cases [4][5].

 

Typical complaints of menopause

Common symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, nocturnal perspiration, vaginal dryness, decreased libido, alterations in mood and disruptions to sleep patterns[2][1]. Certain women may experience a reduced desire for sexual intercourse during this time due to additional symptoms associated with menopause such as depression, anxiety or insomnia[2].

 

Osteoporosis and cardiovascular risk increase

The age at which menopause occurs has been demonstrated to exert an influential effect on bone and heart health, with a younger onset of this biological phenomenon consistently linked to heightened susceptibility to cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and fractures[6]. In fact, women who have undergone menopause and are diagnosed with osteoporosis exhibit a 47% higher likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease in comparison to their counterparts without compromised bone density[7].

 

Do you need to replace hormones during menopause?

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a medical intervention that can alleviate menopausal symptoms by replenishing hormones that are no longer produced by the body following menopause. Moreover, HRT can effectively mitigate the risk of osteoporosis[8]. Nevertheless, it is not universally applicable and requires consultation with a healthcare professional to carefully weigh its advantages and disadvantages[8].

 

Citations:

[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20353397

[2] https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/menopause-symptoms-and-relief

[3] https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6006803/

[5] https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/menopause-related-hot-flashes-night-sweats-can-last-years-201502237745

[6] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1521693422000414

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9106546/

[8] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16550729/

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