Hot Flashes Can Impact Up to 80% of Women – So Why Aren’t We Talking About It?

In accordance with the National Institute on Aging, many women experience hot flashes, which can continue for many years beyond menopause. In actuality, hot flashes related to menopause will affect up to 80% of women. These are referred to as vasomotor symptoms (VMS), and they are characterized by abrupt, strong, and all-over body heat. Sweating, skin redness, chills, and a quick heartbeat may also be present. Additionally, hot flashes may be light or intense enough to wake you awake (called night sweats). Most hot flashes last between 30 seconds and 10 minutes, and they might occur often throughout the hour, frequently throughout the day, or only seldom (once or twice per week).

How to Determine Whether Menopause Is the Cause of Your Night Sweats, According to an Expert

Menopause still carries a bad reputation despite the fact that hot flashes are common and that many people go through it (an estimated 1.3 million women in the U.S. alone experience menopause each year). Women aren’t getting the care or attention they need to deal with the symptoms of menopause, which also include weight gain, vaginal dryness, mood swings, sleep issues, and reduced metabolism to name a few. Therefore, why is it stigmatized? The short answer, according to Dr. Tara Allmen, Board Certified Gynecologist in NYC and Author of Menopause Confidential, is that menopause makes women feel old, unattractive, and invisible. Because of this, there is some shame attached to it and its effects.

Menopause’s effects

In addition to the stigma attached to menopause, VMS can have an effect on a variety of elements of women’s lives, such as sleep, concentration, and interpersonal interactions. Hot flashes and night sweats are the most typical menopause symptom that 80% of women experience, according to Dr. Allmen. “This will cause them to have bad sleep, which will increase their level of weariness, give them a foggy mind, and impair their mood while lowering their desire for sex. Their vaginas will dry out, making sex uncomfortable. Additionally, they will become less motivated to lead healthy lifestyles, which will affect their weight.

Myths about the menopause

This is just untrue. One of the biggest myths about menopause, according to Dr. Allmen, is that it means your life is finished or that you’ll never have amazing sex again. Additionally, there’s the notion that you’re too old, can never lose weight, or will never feel like yourself again. While it’s expected that you’ll experience a range of emotions at this time, keep in mind that just because you’re in your 40s or 50s doesn’t mean you’re old.

Another common misunderstanding is that although heat flashes may be inconvenient, “that’s okay.” According to Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a clinical professor in the Yale University School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, “They’re not only a nuisance.”

What a doctor does

According to Dr. Minkin, another reason why it seems like fewer people are talking about menopause and its symptoms is because fewer medical professionals are treating it. In essence, this made women distrustful of estrogen and hormone therapy.

According to Dr. Minkin, several obstetrics and gynecology residency programs in the US have discontinued teaching menopausal management.  It’s not their [the student’s] fault, but a lot of people are suffering as a result, she continues. However, Dr. Minkin does provide some encouraging news. Hot flashes do, she claims, “tend to become better over time.” “It’s not immediate, and the average time between hot flashes is roughly 7.4 years, but it tends to improve—not it’s 7.4 years of suffering for most individuals,” the author says.

A shifting environment

In the past 20 years, there haven’t been many advances in the treatment of hot flashes, but according to Dr. Minkin, this is about to change. She claims that estrogen is still effective and that it has traditionally served as the foundation of treatment for hot flashes. Alternative therapies and some herbal/over-the-counter, non-hormonal drugs can be beneficial. There is also a brand-new medicine coming out, she continues. It is quite effective and non-estrogenic. We anticipate having access to that in the upcoming year. The idea that there are no effective therapies for hot flashes is a common one. Doctors may have previously dismissed it, but today, according to Dr. Minkin, “we can come up with mixtures and combinations which can really be extremely useful to women symptomatically.”

eliminating stigma

We must empower and encourage women to take control of the remainder of their life in order to eradicate the stigma. “Let’s allow everyone to declare aloud, “I need support. I don’t feel well,” Dr. Allmen declares. “We need to talk about this because it’s a necessary part of life. All women would be less confused, less afraid, and less miserable if they had the what to expect when you’re not expecting talk at the age of 40 to help them understand the journey ahead of perimenopause and menopause. They would also know what options are available, whether lifestyle or medication, to help them have an easier time with the transition and find symptom relief.

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