THURSDAY, Dec. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A new study suggests a possible link between certain menopause symptoms -- moderate to severe hot flashes and night sweats -- and higher rates of hip fractures and weaker bones.
Hot flashes are common during menopause, affecting about 60 percent of women. The hormonal changes during menopause also affect women after menopause, since they then face a higher risk of weakened bones and osteoporosis.
"Our findings suggest women who exhibit moderate or severe menopausal symptoms are more likely to have issues with bone health than their peers," study co-author Dr. Carolyn Crandall, of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a news release from the Endocrine Society. "This is the first large cohort study to examine the relationship between menopausal symptoms and bone health in menopausal women."
While the researchers found an association between some menopause symptoms and bone health, they did not prove that hot flashes and night sweats cause hip fractures.
The study analyzed the medical records of more than 23,000 U.S. women aged 50 to 79 who were tracked for eight years, on average.
Compared to women with no menopausal symptoms, those with moderate or severe hot flashes were more likely to fracture a hip. Those with moderate to severe menopausal symptoms also had weaker bones in the neck and spine, as revealed by bone density tests.
"More research is needed to illuminate the connection between bone health and menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes," Crandall said. "Improved understanding would help clinicians advise women on how to better prevent osteoporosis and other bone conditions. Women who have hot flashes and want to protect their bones may benefit from healthy lifestyle habits such as avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, exercising and getting sufficient calcium and vitamin D."
The study was published Dec. 18 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
For more about menopause, try the U.S. National Institute on Aging.
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