Wednesday Bubble: Holy Hot Flash Menopause Woman!

Posted by on Feb 2, 2011 in breast cancer | 5 comments

Bet you never thought you’d hear holy and hot flash in the same sentence! However, it appears that menopausal hot flashes, those bothersome, sweat inducing, embarassment producing, change of clothing inducing symptoms might actually deliver something better than a whole lotta dread. And so, dear readers, after the bad breast cancer news that I delivered on Monday, I’m happy to report some good!

You mean I WANT hot flashes? Well not exactly. But there sure is a interesting paradigm hidden somewhere in the diminishing returns of estrogen, that is, severe, wake you in the middle of the night or interrupt your meeting hot flashes might actually reduce risk for invasive breast cancer.

As we know all too well, menopausal symptoms often occur as estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate and the ovaries cease to function reproductively.  However, utilizing data culled from a study whose original intent was to evaluate the link between hormone therapy and risks of different types of breast cancer, researchers have actually uncovered some positivity! In this study, women between the ages of 50 and 74 were randomly selected based on confirmed invasive breast cancer and then matched by age to healthy women. All were interviewed about their reproductive history, menstruation/menopause history, use of hormones, BMI, medical history, family history of cancer and use of alcohol.  They were also asked specifically about their experience with menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, bladder issues, irregular menstruation, depression, anxiety, emotional distress and insomnia and requested to rate them based on their frequency and severity.

Interesting enough, women who reported menopausal symptoms had a 40% to 60% lower risk of the type of invasive breast cancer that starts in the milk ducts (i.e., invasive ductal carcinoma or IDC) and invasive breast cancer that starts in the glands at the end of the milk ducts (i.e. invasive lobular carcinoma or ILC). Moreover, reduced risk for these cancers as well as the mixed ductal/lobular type was especially pronounced among women who experienced hot flashes with perspiration or whose hot flashes woke them up compared to women who had hot flashes without perspiration or others symptoms with awakening during the night.

The researchers say that they believe that menopausal symptoms may be markers for hormonal changes that precipitate breast cancer. In other words, pronounced the changes in reproductive hormones may actually be related to breast cancer risk. Less clear are the direct connections between individual symptoms and risk. However, they noted that the relationship between symptoms and risk did not change when hormone use, age when menopause began or BMI were factored into the equation.

Clearly, this is only one study so no firm conclusions can be drawn, at least not yet. But with all the bad news about hormone therapy and breast cancer risk, it’s heartening to learn that the hormones that are wreaking havoc on our lives may actually be protecting us from harm.

Holy hot flash indeed!


  1. 2-2-2011

    Love this post…thanks for helping me appreciate my flashes!

    • 2-2-2011

      Thanks Lori!

  2. 2-2-2011

    I often wonder in the midst of those holy episodes- if there might be some purpose beyond the discomfort…positivity, be it ever so humble. Thanks!

    • 2-2-2011

      Terry, for a change, there’s good news about these troublesome symptoms.

  3. 3-10-2011

    Nice insight on hot flashes! I would like to share something based on my personal experience. I went through severe hot flashes during the change and was wondering what to do. I never wanted to go for an HRT as it brings along cumbersome side effects. Over the counter drugs were not showing any results. Then I discovered Femestra an herbal supplement that contains natural Rice Bran Oil. Rice Bran contains more than 100 vitamins and minerals and an antioxidant called Gamma Oryzanol that helps relieve menopause symptoms. Initially I did not see any change but then as I continued with it I realized the frequency and intensity of my hot flashes diminished. As time went by my hot flashes completely vanished and I was able to go through the transition with ease. I would be delighted to share their link


  1. Tweets that mention Wednesday Bubble: Holy Hot Flash Menopause Woman! « Flashfree -- - [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Liz Scherer, Liz Scherer, Liz Scherer, Liz Scherer, musecrossing and others. musecrossing…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *