FRIDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- Women who suffer severe hot flashes during menopause may be less productive on the job and have a lower quality of life, a new study suggests.
The study, by researchers from the drug maker Pfizer, Inc., is based on a survey of nearly 3,300 U.S. women aged 40 to 75. Overall, women who reported severe hot flashes and night sweats had a dimmer view of their well-being. They also were more likely than women with milder symptoms to say the problem hindered them at work.
The cost of that lost work productivity averaged more than $6,500 over a year, the researchers estimated. On top of that, they said, women with severe hot flashes spent more on doctor visits -- averaging almost $1,000 in menopause-related appointments.
Pfizer researcher Jennifer Whiteley and her colleagues reported the results online Feb. 11 in the journal Menopause.
It's not surprising that women with severe hot flashes would visit the doctor more often, or report a bigger impact on their health and work productivity, said Dr. Margery Gass, a gynecologist and executive director of the North American Menopause Society.
But she said the new findings put some numbers to the issue. "What's helpful about this is that the authors tried to quantify the impact," Gass said, adding that it's always good to have hard data on how menopause symptoms affect women's lives.
For women themselves, the findings give reassurance that the effects they perceive in their lives are real. "This validates the experiences they are having," Gass said.
Another gynecologist who reviewed the study pointed out many limitations, however.
The research was based on an Internet survey, so the women who responded are a "self-selected" bunch, said Dr. Michele Curtis, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Houston.
And since it was a one-time survey, Curtis said, it provides only a
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