Women who experience menopausal hot flushes may endure this symptom for much longer than the generally expected three to five years. A recent analysis shows the median duration of moderate-to-severe hot flushes to be 10.2 years — and even longer if they begin near a woman’s entry into the menopause transition.

Among 349 women who reported having any hot flushes over the course of 13 years, median duration was greater than 11.57 years when this symptom first occurred near the time of entry into the menopause transition. By comparison, hot-flush symptoms that began in the early-transition stage had a median duration of 7.35 years, and a median duration of 3.84 years when beginning in the late-transition to postmenopausal stages.

The most common ages at onset of moderate-to-severe hot flushes were 45 to 49 years (median duration 8.1 years).

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“The median duration of hot flushes considerably exceeded the time frame that is generally accepted in clinical practice,” researchers wrote.

Freeman EW et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2011;117:1095-1104