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Weight loss and hot flush reduction

Now women have yet one more incentive to lose weight as a new study has shown evidence that behavioral weight loss can help manage menopausal hot flushes.

The pilot study, which was published online last month in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), consisted of 40 overweight or obese white and African-American women with hot flushes, which are the most prevalent symptom of menopause. In fact, more than 70% of women report hot flushes during the menopausal transition, with many of these women reporting frequent or severe hot flushes. Since women with hot flushes are at greater risk for poor quality of life, sleep problems and a depressed mood, interest in identifying methods for managing hot flushes is growing. In addition, newer data indicate that hot flushes are typically persistent, lasting an average of nine years or more.

For purposes of the pilot clinical trial, hot flushes were assessed before and after intervention via physiologic monitoring, diary and questionnaire. The study confirmed a significant correlation between weight loss and hot flushes. Furthermore, the degree of weight loss correlated with the degree of reduction in hot flushes.

Although newer data has suggested a positive relationship between hot flushes and the percentage of fat in a woman's body, no studies, to date, had been specifically designed to test whether weight loss reduces hot flushes. The authors of this pilot study concluded that, while the results were encouraging in proving the benefits of weight reduction in the management of menopausal hot flushes, more than anything, the findings indicate the importance of conducting a larger study.


Thurston RC, Ewing LJ, Low CA, Christie AJ, Levine MD. Behavioral weight loss for the management of menopausal hot flashes. Menopause, 2014; 1 DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000274 

Content updated July 2014