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Meet the Super Flasher: Some Menopausal Women Suffer Years of Hot Flashes

What kind of hot flasher are you?

The hot flash — that sudden feeling of warmth that can leave a woman flushed and drenched in sweat — has long been considered the defining symptom of menopause. But new research shows that the timing and duration of hot flashes can vary significantly from woman to woman, and that women appear to fall evenly into four hot-flash categories.

Some women, called “early onset” hot flashers, begin to experience hot flashes long before menopause. Symptoms can begin five to 10 years before a woman’s last period, but the symptoms stop around the time of the final menstrual cycle.

Then there are women who don’t experience their first hot flash until after their final menstrual period, the “late onset” hot flasher. And some women fall into a group the researchers called the “lucky few.” Some of these women never experience a single hot flash, whereas others briefly suffer only a few flashes near the end of the menopausal transition.

And then there are the “super flashers.” This unlucky group includes one in four midlife women. The super flasher begins to experience hot flashes relatively early in life, similar to the early onset group. But her symptoms continue well past menopause, like those in the late onset group. Her symptoms can last 15 years or more.

New York Times


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