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Acupuncture: the answer to hot flushes

In the 2,500 plus years that have passed since acupuncture was first used by the ancient Chinese, it has been used to treat a number of physical, mental and emotional conditions including nausea and vomiting, stroke rehabilitation, headaches, menstrual cramps, asthma, carpal tunnel, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, to name just a few. Now, a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials which is being published this month in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), indicates that acupuncture can affect the severity and frequency of hot flushes for women in natural menopause.

An extensive search of previous studies evaluating the effectiveness of acupuncture uncovered 104 relevant students, of which 12 studies with 869 participants met the specified inclusion criteria to be included in this current study. While the studies provided inconsistent findings on the effects of acupuncture on other menopause-related symptoms such as sleep problems, mood disturbances and sexual problems, they did conclude that acupuncture positively impacted both the frequency and severity of hot flushes.

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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.

Read more: Weight loss and hot flush reduction