Study underscores burden that severe hot flashes put on women and society

Published on February 25, 2013 at 6:38 AM · 1 Comment

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 put some numbers on their impact.

The survey of more than 3,000 women age 40 to 75 selected from the 2010 US National Health and Wellness Survey showed that, for women with severe symptoms, lost work productivity cost $6,560, compared with $1,079 for women with mild symptoms. The cost of doctor visits for hot flashes was also much higher for women with severe symptoms-$962 compared with $574 for those with mild symptoms and $257 for those without symptoms. What's more, women with more severe symptoms felt much less healthy than those with milder symptoms, even if they had the same body mass index and number of other illnesses.

As many as 40% of women may experience hot flashes for more than 7 years and as many as 15% for more than 15 years. And in this study, the average age of women with severe hot flashes was 59, older than 51, the average age of menopause. That means many women may need help for their hot flashes for longer than most studies judge hormone therapy to be safe to use. In addition, some women may not be able or may not want to take hormones but still need their doctor's help with severe hot flashes.

"This study underscores the burden that severe hot flashes put on women and our society. It also emphasizes the need for more safe options to control symptoms," said Margery Gass, Executive Director of NAMS. "New, safe, nonhormonal prescription options could be a great boon to the many women who have a need for hot flash therapy."

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  1. Jamie Miranda Jamie Miranda United States says:

    This article was like a DAAAA.  Why has it taken all these years for this need to be recognized.  Women have been suffering... SUFFERING.. this for decades and now this study indicates a need for better treatments.  I hate to say it ..but if this was a male problem would have ceased to be a problem a long time ago.  If a pill can be invented to send blood to a mans penis..for Gods sake, helping to control hot flashes should be an easy task.   When a woman says she is having hot flashes it is taken as no big deal.  A little problem or just something YOU WOMEN do, like pregnancy, and periods.  Hot Flashes are debilitating, destructive to our lives and our health, self esteem, productivity and sense of well being.  I have had women say, we have to look on the bright side, "no more periods".. REALLY ???  Periods are a disgusting fact of life but they don't destroy you.  You can live your life around them..not with hot flashes.  The life I was living is over.  This life is like living with a disability.. a disease.  Why has this problem not been addressed a long..long time ago.

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