Almost 80 percent of women do get hot flashes, night sweats or both during menopause, researchers found. But the timing of these symptoms and how long they last appear to vary a great deal, with factors such as body weight, race, education and dietary habits tending to predict the patterns.
In the study conducted by the Biobehavioral Health Lab at the University of Pittsburgh, some interesting findings from a 15-year study emerged. The researchers explained that several patterns emerged and factors such as race, education, weight and health habits contributed to the patterns.
The symptom patterns identified are: early symptom onset, beginning 11 years before the final menstrual period and declining after menopause; onset of symptoms near the final period with a later decline; early onset with high frequency of symptoms; and persistently low frequency of symptoms.
Jeffrey Obron, M.D., a certified menopause clinician, shares that he has seen the patterns described in this study among women in his GYN practice as well. Hormonal changes that cause women to experience hot flashes can be eased with the proper treatment and healthy lifestyle. “Women shouldn’t be shy about asking their GYN for help during this time of their lives,” says Dr. Obron, “it’s a natural process of life, but now we can make that process less distressing.”
Menopausal women can also help themselves by reducing weight, reducing or eliminating caffeine and alcohol, plus exercise to reduce stress that produces cortisol which can increase blood pressure and fat that surrounds the mid-section, creating menopausal symptoms.
Soy and flaxseed are the richest sources of phytoestrogens, also called isoflavones. There are many studies that show these foods can help lower the risk of heart disease, improve blood cholesterol levels and relieve hot flashes.
So, balance and moderation are key to help support the reduction of hot flashes.
Each woman has her own experience, making it even more important to discuss specific concerns directly with your gynecologist or menopause clinician.
To read the more about the results of the 15-year study, click here: