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Understanding the burden of VMS on women's lives​

Transcript: The Impact of VMS on Women’s Daily Lives

Last updated:21st May 2024
Published:21st May 2024

Dr Juliana (Jewel) Kling

All transcripts are created from interview footage and directly reflect the content of the interview at the time. The content is that of the speaker and is not adjusted by Medthority.


I think many people are aware, a 100% of women will go through menopause and a majority of women will have vasomotor symptoms, which are also called hot flashes or night sweats.
As many as 80% report vasomotor symptoms during menopause, and about 30% of those report severe vasomotor symptoms. So flushing, night sweats, interrupting sleep. But you can imagine if you're having these symptoms, it's gonna be bothersome both during the day but at night. And then it has other ramifications including for things like work productivity, cost for healthcare, et cetera.
Well, typically when we think about vasomotor symptoms, the first thing that comes to mind is the quality of life impact. Having frequent hot flashes and night sweats during the day, it makes sense that that's gonna interrupt a woman's life and can impact her sleep and then have secondary consequences like contribute to weight gain or moodiness or irritability. And so right off the bat, recognising that those adverse symptoms really calls to action the need to both talk about it, but then address those symptoms. Beyond the quality of life impact of vasomotor symptoms, we see associations with women that have untreated vasomotor symptoms and future cardiovascular disease risk. Whether or not hormone therapy or other treatment will mitigate that risk is not completely clear, but it would make sense, again from that quality of life impact, to offer women treatment for their symptoms. And then in addition to the personal impacts for women, whether that's quality of life or potentially future risks, if they're having hot flashes and night sweats, we also see pretty significant economic impacts of untreated vasomotor symptoms. In a recent study we did at Mayo Clinic where we asked women across all of our sites, including Arizona, Rochester, and Florida, so a good representation of the US, we found that over 10% of women reported missing work days because of their menopause symptoms. And on average, those women reported missing three work days. When we extrapolated that data to economic data for the US, that translated to about a $1.8 billion economic loss based on untreated menopause symptoms.
So again, the impact of vasomotor symptoms is multifactorial. It impacts women and their quality of life, potentially has an influence on future cardiovascular other outcomes, and has kinda more broad implications including to their workforce.

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