Yikes: Hot Flashes Can Last For Over A Decade

Illustrated by Austin Watts.
First, the good news: 20% of women will never experience hot flashes, according to a study published online this week in JAMA Internal Medicine. But, for those who do, one in eight of us will get them while still having regular periods, reports The New York Times. If that's you, the study suggests those hot flashes will last longer overall — even years longer. In the study, researchers kept track of 1,449 women who transitioned into menopause between 1996 and 2013. As part of the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation, the women were asked about their menopausal vasomotor symptoms (commonly referred to as night sweats and hot flashes). More than half of the women who reported getting hot flashes had them for an average of seven years — but for some, including those who started getting hot flashes earlier, the symptoms lasted up to 14 uncomfortable years. The researchers also asked the women to self-identify within racial and ethnic categories and found that African-American women tended to have hot flashes for the longest stretch of time. Sure, the thought of suffering through hot flashes for years and years is daunting, but here's a silver lining: The study authors told Reuters that the hot flashes may not be severe the whole time. Hopefully this means that, when your time comes, you won't have to carry around a tiny fan all day — and can instead focus on much more fashionable accessories.

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