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Women With Severe Hot Flashes May Have Increased Chronic Sleep Problem

A report in the June 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, which is one of the JAMA/Archives journals, states that women who have severe hot flashes// may have more chronic sleep problems than women who do not.

The article explains that almost 85% of women in menopause experience hot flashes, heightened sensations to heat that may also mean increased sweating. It was explained that hot flashes often occur during the night and have been linked with insomnia, or difficulty sleeping. Insomnia includes problems like falling asleep and/or staying asleep, sleep experienced is usually not restful and an overall displeasure with the quality and quantity of sleep. But as a lot of other factors do also influence sleep in menopausal women, the exact link between hot flashes and insomnia had always been difficult to determine.

Maurice M. Ohayon, M.D., D.Sc., Ph.D., Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, Calif., conducted telephone interviews with 3,243 individuals in California, including 982 women ages 35 to 65 years, between June 2003 and April 2004. Of the women, 562 (57.2 percent) were perimenopausal; 219 (22.3 percent) were perimenopausal, meaning that they had irregular menstrual cycles with at least one period in the previous year; and 201 (20.5 percent) were postmenopausal, or had reported no menstrual bleeding in the previous year. Hot flashes were defined as mild if they usually did not involve sweating, moderate if they mostly involved sweating but did not require a woman to stop the activity she was pursuing and severe if they typically involved sweating and did require a woman to stop an activity.

About 33 percent of the women reported having hot flashes, including 12.5 percent of the premenopausal women, 79 percent of perimenopausal women and 39.3 percent of postmenopausal women. Of those who had hot flashes, about half reported that they were typically mild, while about one-third had moderate and about 15 perce
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