We all know of hot flashes and night sweats as the most common and bothersome symptoms of menopause. Hot flashes can range from tolerable to debilitating, seconds to minutes, and infrequent to consistent. What most women don't know, however, is that hot flashes can happen during and before menopause, too.

A survey conducted by researchers at Group Health, a healthcare system located in the Pacific Northwest, asked a diverse group of women whether they have experienced hot flashes and/or night sweats. The women ranged from 45 to 65 years old, regularly menstruated (no skipped cycles), were not on exogenous hormones, and came from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.

In this survey, 55% of all women reported having hot flashes or night sweats. Native Americans and African Americans had the highest proportions reporting these symptoms, at 67% and 61%, respectively. 58% of Caucasian women reported symptoms, although this was not statistically significant in comparison to Native Americans and African Americans. Asian and Hispanic women were least likely to report symptoms (31% and 26%, respectively).

So don't be dismayed if you suspect you are having a hot flash before your menopause hits. This study helps women by showing that a large percentage of women experience menopause symptoms actually before menopause, and this is normal. If you want to know what other symptoms you may have during menopause, visit http://menopausenu.org/

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