This is significantly longer than what was previously thought.
The study, published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal studied a racially diverse group of 1,449 women who all experienced frequent hot flushes or night sweats. The women were found to endure symptoms for a median of 7.4 years – so half the women experienced hot flushes for less than that, while the other half had symptoms for longer and up to 14 years. The women were followed from 1996 to 2013, none were taking hormone therapy.
Even more unfairly, the earlier a woman started experiencing the symptoms, the longer she would have them, the study found. This is particularly bad luck if you started getting hot flushes while still having monthly periods.
"If you don’t have hot flashes until you’ve stopped menses, then you won’t have them as long," Nancy Avis, a professor of social sciences and health policy at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre and the study’s first author told The New York Times.
"If you start later, it’s a shorter total duration and it’s shorter from the last period on," she said.
Previous studies have discovered that menopause might start earlier than previously thought, with the age it starts closer to 46 than the often touted 50. Early menopause is pegged as starting between the ages of 40 and 45.
Experts have praised the new findings – especially because it included a diverse group of women - and say that they will help women decide on how best to manage their menopause symptoms. Treatments for the symptoms of menopause include hormonal treatments and altering your lifestyle and diet.
For more information on treating menopause go here.