Washington: As per a new study, some 40 percent of women 60 to 65 years old still have hot flashes, out of which many have occasional and mild ones, but for some, they remain really troublesome.
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) study found that sexual symptoms also remain a problem for more than half these older women. Furthermore, women bothered by these symptoms are often not getting treatment, even though treatments are available.
This large study, which is one of the few to quantify how prevalent troublesome hot flashes are for women at different ages, included 2,000 women 40 to 65 years old who were representative of the Australian population and found that more than 90 percent of them used no hormonal contraception, menopausal hormone therapy, or other prescription drugs to control their symptoms.
Among these women, the share having hot flashes ranged from 33 percent of the premenopausal women to 74 percent of the postmenopausal women younger than 55. Hot flashes persisted in 42 percent of the women 60 to 65 years old.
Hot flashes were troublesome, that is, they were rated moderately to severely bothersome on a standard questionnaire, for about 3 percent of the premenopausal women, 28 percent of the postmenopausal women younger than 55, 15 percent of the 55 to 59-year-old postmenopausal women and 6 percent of the 60 to 65-year-old postmenopausal women.
Among all the women surveyed, nearly 10 percent of the 60- to 65-year-olds were using hormone therapy, presumably because they still had troublesome symptoms and less than 1 percent were using nonhormonal prescription therapies for hot flashes.
Among the women who used no vaginal estrogen, the rate of sexual symptoms (such as pain with intercourse) ranged from 44percent in premenopause to 68 percent after menopause. Those sexual symptoms persisted in 62 percent of women 60 to 65 years old. Only 8 percent of the older women overall were using vaginal estrogen, despite the high rate of sexual symptoms.
NAMS Executive Director Margery Gass said that women need to know that they do still have options to treat their hot flashes and sexual symptoms, even if they are older or cannot or do not wish to use hormone therapy. NAMS encourages all women bothered by their menopause symptoms to seek the help they need and not to give up.
The article will appear in the journal Menopause.