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Maybe hot flashes aren't such a bad thing after all?

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  • Maybe hot flashes aren't such a bad thing after all?

    For any ladies out there over 45, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Sudden bouts of rage or tears, days of "heat" or what I call mini bursts that last all day, higher than normal levels of anxiety and the occasional palpitation and/or nausea moment. Such has been my life for the past few years. I don't get the rages so much anymore, and the hot flashes aren't quite as bad as they used to be... but the anxiety swings combined with hot flashes combined with little moments of nausea are wearing on me... especially when my mom and my best friend say "I never had any problem with menopause." :::sigh::: But this new study below says that maybe there is some payoff for these days and nights of hot flashes, a decreased risk of breast cancer. Fascinating!!! - Jill

    Menopausal Hot Flashes Linked to a Significant Reduction in Breast Cancer Risk
    Released: 1/25/2011 3:30 PM EST
    Source: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

    SEATTLE – Newswise — Women who have experienced hot flushes and other symptoms of menopause may have a 50 percent lower risk of developing the most common forms of breast cancer than postmenopausal women who have never had such symptoms, according to a recent study by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

    The results of the first study to examine the relationship between menopausal symptoms and breast cancer risk are available online ahead of the February print issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.
    The protective effect appeared to increase along with the number and severity of menopausal symptoms, according to senior author Christopher I. Li, M.D., Ph.D., a breast cancer epidemiologist in the Hutchinson Center’s Public Health Sciences Division.

    “In particular we found that women who experienced more intense hot flushes – the kind that woke them up at night – had a particularly low risk of breast cancer,” he said.

    Li and colleagues suspected a link between menopause misery and decreased breast cancer risk because hormones such as estrogen and progesterone play an important role in the development of most breast cancers, and reductions in these hormones caused by gradual cessation of ovarian function can impact the frequency and severity of menopausal symptoms.

    “Since menopausal symptoms occur as hormone levels fluctuate and drop, we hypothesized that women who experienced symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats – particularly frequent and severe symptoms – might have a lower risk of breast cancer due to decreased estrogen levels,” he said.
    Indeed, the researchers found a 40 percent to 60 percent reduction in the risk of invasive ductal and invasive lobular carcinoma – the two most common types of breast cancer – among women who experienced hot flushes and other symptoms. The association between such symptoms and decreased cancer risk did not change even after the researchers accounted for other factors known to boost breast cancer risk, such as obesity and use of hormone replacement therapy.

    For the study, which was funded by the National Cancer Institute, Li and colleagues interviewed 1,437 postmenopausal Seattle-area women, 988 of whom had been previously diagnosed with breast cancer and 449 of whom had not, who served as a comparison group. The women were surveyed about perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms ranging from hot flushes, night sweats and insomnia to vaginal dryness, irregular or heavy menstrual bleeding, depression and anxiety.

    “While menopausal symptoms can certainly have a negative impact on quality of life, our study suggests that there may be a silver lining if the reduction in breast cancer risk is confirmed in future studies,” Li said. “If these findings are confirmed, they have the potential to improve our understanding of the causes of breast cancer and improve approaches to preventing this disease.”
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  • #2
    I feel SO lucky that I'm 46 and I've already had my years of hot flashes and various other symptoms due to early menopause. I called them my "personal summers", lol!! It's good to know that maybe all the changing of clothes and sheets and bottles and bottles of antiperspirant may have had a good impact. Because at the time, you would've had a really, REALLY hard time convincing me that there were any redeeming qualities to it!!!
    Katie-46 yr old female dx'd with IC after 15 years of symptoms off and on long term antibiotic use, GERD,IBS and now IC diet, gallbladder removed, endometrial ablation w/tubes tied
    Lexapro-20 mg
    Ambien-as needed
    Percocet-7.5 up to 3 per day as needed
    Valium-10 mg x2 per day
    Phenergan-1 at night
    Prelief w/everything
    Now recovering from acute pancreatitis

    Currents treatments that help somewhat:
    Heating pad
    Hot baths
    Being VERY still while lying down with legs elevated


    • #3
      This is very interesting! I'm not to that stage in life yet but I have a history of breast cancer on my dad's side of the family.
      This is a little off topic but, I'm kind of curious if women who have difficult pregnancies (nausea, swollen feet, heartburn, back pain) have strong menopausal symptoms as well. I wonder if there could be any correlation. Just thinking of this because my pregnancy was tough.
      I've heard that having children under the age of 30 and breastfeeding will reduce your chances of breast cancer as well.


      • #4
        I wonder you read all the time that this or that reduces your chances of breast cancer, can you add all these percents together? Just joking I assume anything that reduces your risk reduces your risk.

        I am in my 50's and the only hormonal syptoms I get are I am more emotional towards the end of the month every month, I had a hyst at age of 40. My sib and Mom didn't go through meno till mid 50's.

        I havenot had my hormon levels tested as I don't think unless symptoms were really bad I would use replacement hormons. My Dr. also feels Iwouldnot do well on them, I never could take the pill, I tried a few times over my life.

        As for Meno and preg my mom, sister and I all had very tough preg. and as said before they hardley had any meno syptoms.

        But everyone's body is so different.

        My are with you all. May you all find a way to peace and joy in your lives.