According to a new Mayo Clinic study, menopause symptoms can continue into later life.
Hot flashes in particular were reported well into study participants’ 60s, 70s and 80s.
The study, published in the Journal of the North American Menopause Society, gathered data from nearly 5,000 women.
Women who experienced surgical or induced menopause were likely to report hot flashes that lasted beyond age 60. Caffeine use appeared to increase the likelihood of hot flashes in women older than 70.
"The number of women in the study who both reported and sought care for symptom management shines a light on what may be an unmet medical need for women over age 60," Paru David, M.D., a menopause specialist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, said in a press release. "With increased awareness, clinicians can identify these distressing symptoms and review treatment options with women, which can lead to improved quality of life."
All of the women older than 60 who reported moderate to severe hot flashes were likely to be married or in a committed relationship. They were less likely to self-report their health as excellent.
The study found women who used hormone therapy were less likely to report moderate or severe hot flashes.
Menopausal hormone therapy can reduce the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, night sweats, and bone loss. However, taking estrogen is associated with increased risk of breast cancer, stroke, and blood clots.
According to the press release, the benefits of menopausal hormone therapy generally outweigh the risks for those younger than 60 and within 10 years from menopause.