A new study shows women plagued by the nuisance symptoms at the start of ''the change'' have a reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Scientists cannot yet explain the trend, identified from an analysis of data on 60,000 women taking part in a major US study. But they say it is good news for women who are known to become more vulnerable to heart disease after the menopause.
Hot flushes - known as hot flashes in the US - are one of the most common menopausal symptoms. They occur suddenly, lasting about four minutes on average, and produce an uncomfortable feeling of intense heat. Sufferers may break out in sweats and frequent hot flushes at night can severely disrupt sleep. The symptoms are caused by the dilation of blood vessels in the skin and are linked to hormone imbalances, but still not fully understood.
Researchers discovered the positive news about hot flushes after studying women taking part in the Women's Health Initiative, a 10-year investigation of menopausal symptoms and heart and artery problems. The findings will appear in the June issue of the journal Menopause and were published online today.