Menopause: 7 years of discomfort on average

The vasomotor symptoms of menopause (SVM or VMS in English) such as hot flashes or episodes of nocturnal sweating, lasted more than 7 years at the menopause or in its transition period. This result comes from a study carried out on more than 1,400 women.

If we consider the average age of the menopause at age 51, more than half of women suffered from these symptoms until at least age 58. So far, few studies have been conducted to identify the duration of these typical menopausal symptoms. African-American women had a longer duration of symptoms than women of Caucasian and especially Asian origin.

Menopause: 80% of women suffer from symptoms

We are talking about menopause when a woman has not had a period for 12 consecutive months. At the physiological level, it is the cessation of hormonal secretion of the ovaries and in particular of estrogens and progesterones. SVMs like hot flashes and episodes of night sweats are very specific signs of menopause can negatively affect women’s quality of life. It is estimated that approximately 80% of women experience VMS during the transition period from menopause. Another important and common symptom of menopause is weight gain.

The symptoms of menopause last an average of 7.4 years

This study, carried out in particular by Dr. Nancy E. Avis from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, focused on the analysis of data from women in this period of transition to menopause. It was driven for 7 years. The analyzes focused on 1,449 women frequently suffering from vasomotor symptoms of menopause. These symptoms occurred on at least 6 days during the 2 weeks preceding the study.

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In detail, the average duration of SVM for all women participating in this study was 7.4 years. Pre-menopausal women, that is, women entering menopause before middle age (about age 51) suffered on average for 11.8 years if they were affected by these typical menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. Remember that some women, whether pre-menopausal or not, will never suffer from these symptoms.

If we look at ethnic groups, African-American women suffered an average of 10.1 years from VMS compared to 4.8 years for Japanese women and 5.4 years for Chinese women. In non-Hispanic (non-Latino) Caucasian women the average symptom duration was 6.5 years and in Hispanic (Latino) women the duration was 8.9 years.

Beware of hormonal treatments, it is better to use plants to fight against hot flashes

The average duration of menopausal symptoms of 7.4 years shows the limits of the prescription of replacement hormones over a short period, as is often the case to reduce the risk of cancer. Because of the increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer with hormone therapy, it is best to identify safe and effective long-term treatments for these symptoms of menopause, concludes the study. You can turn to medicinal plants such as sage and cimicifuga to naturally fight against hot flashes.

JAMA Internal Medicine.


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