Researchers link hip fractures to hot flashes


December 31, 2014

Topic: orthopaedic fracture

Researchers from the University of California found that women who experience hot flashes during menopause may have a higher risk of sustaining a hip fracture.

Researchers from the University of California found that women who experience hot flashes during menopause may have a higher risk of sustaining a hip fracture. Approximately 60 percent of women have hot flashes during menopause. 

After menopause, women are more likely to develop osteoporosis, a condition where bones become porous and weak. This causes the bones to be susceptible to orthopaedic fractures.

Causes behind menopause
Menopause alters the process of bone loss and production. It causes the bones to break down more quickly than they can rebuild, leading to brittle bones. The researchers noted that women who experience hot flashes, a common menopause symptom, may have a greater likelihood of osteoporosis than women who do not have those symptoms. The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The study authors used data from approximately 23,573 women, all between the ages of 50 and 79. The data came from the Women's Health Initiative Clinical Trial, which collects data on female patients for eight years from 40 clinical trials across the country.

In the trial, the women were asked about their menopause symptoms and whether they experienced hot flashes. At the follow-up visit, the clinicians asked about whether the women had experienced any fractures. They also examined their bone density and realized that women with significant menopause symptoms had reduced bone density than women who did not experience any symptoms.

The researchers noted that more information is needed to create a clearer picture.

Looking forward
"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," lead researcher Carolyn Crandall, M.D., M.S., noted.

Menopause begins after your last menstrual cycle, the National Institute on Aging noted. Women experience symptoms because of the changing levels of estrogen and progesterone, which are produced in the ovaries. Women often experience menopause in their early 50s, but it is different for every woman. Hot flashes can last up to three years after menopause. They can range in intensity, from mild hot flashes to ones that can wake up a woman in her sleep, known as night sweats.


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