Hot flashes before menopause? It can happen

More than half of middle-aged women who still have regular cycles have hot flashes. Asian and Hispanic women are less likely to have them than white women, but compared with previous studies, the figures are surprisingly high, showed a survey of some 1,500 women published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

The survey, conducted by researchers at Group Health (a large in the Pacific Northwest) and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, consisted of a diverse group of women, including whites, blacks, Hawaiian/, women of mixed ethnicity, Vietnamese, Filipinos, Japanese, East Indians, Chinese, and other Asians. The women were 45 to 56 years old, had regular cycles, had no skipped periods, and were not taking hormones.

A surprising 55% of them reported having hot flashes or night sweats. (Previous studies pegged the highest rates at below 50%.) The groups with the highest proportions reporting hot flashes or night sweats were Native Americans (67%) and black (61%) women, but the differences between these groups and white women weren't statistically significant. Fifty-eight percent of white women, the largest ethnic group, reported having hot flashes or night sweats.

Compared with them, Asian and were significantly less likely to have these symptoms. Among Asian women, 31% of Filipino, 26% of Japanese, 25% of East Indian, 23% of "other Asian," and 18% of reported having hot flashes or night sweats. Twenty-six percent of Hispanic women reported these symptoms.

Interestingly, white women who had symptoms were more likely to include soy in their diet, and who never had symptoms were more likely to have no soy in their diet.

This study should help ease a worry for women who have been surprised by and night sweats while they are still having regular cycles. It doesn't necessarily mean they are in menopause yet, and it's perfectly normal. "Some women even have a hot flash the first couple of nights after childbirth," said Dr. Margery Gass, NAMS Executive Director.

The study will be published in the February 2014 print edition of Menopause.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

High blood pressure in pregnancy may spell hot flashes later

Apr 03, 2013

Women who have hypertensive diseases during pregnancy seem to be at higher risk of having troublesome hot flashes and night sweats at menopause, report researchers from the Netherlands in an article published online today ...

It's not your imagination: Memory gets muddled at menopause

May 23, 2013

Don't doubt it when a woman harried by hot flashes says she's having a hard time remembering things. A new study published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), helps confirm with o ...

Hot flashes can come back after SSRI

Oct 24, 2012

Hot flashes and night sweats can return after women stop using escitalopram—an antidepressant—to treat these menopause symptoms, according to a study published online this month in Menopause, the journal of the North ...

Hot flashes take toll on life, health, and work

Feb 22, 2013

Hot flashes put a damper on women's health and productivity at work and pump up the cost of health care. A study published online this month in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), has pu ...

Hot flashes? Active days bring better nights

Mar 27, 2013

Getting a good night's sleep isn't always easy for women at menopause. Exercise may help, but women can have a tough time carving out leisure time for it. The good news from a study published online today in Menopause, the jo ...

Recommended for you

App for headache sufferers shows success

1 hour ago

A unique app that helps headache sufferers to record the severity and regularity of their pain is being used as part of a Griffith research study.

West African airline suspends flights amid Ebola (Update)

6 hours ago

(AP)—Police officers deployed to Liberia's international airport to ensure passengers are screened for Ebola symptoms as a major regional airline announced Tuesday it was suspending flights to the cities hardest hit by ...

User comments