Weight Loss Leads to Fewer Hot Flashes for Overweight Women
Menopausal women who are overweight could find themselves with fewer hot flashes by losing pounds. Study findings reported July 12 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine reveal women who lost 7 to 9 percent of initial body weight by six months experienced fewer hot flashes compared to a control group.
The study authors say "In multiple observational studies, women with a higher body mass index (BMI; calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) have reported more frequent or severe hot flushes compared with women with a lower BMI."
Women were divided into two groups - one group was assigned a low calorie diet and another group of women was used as a control. The two groups were similar in their description of bothersome hot flashes and possessed the same characteristics, but at the end of the study women who lost weight also reported fewer hot flashes.
A total of 338 women were studied. The women reported fewer troublesome hot flashes when they lost weight by following a 1,200-1,500 calorie diet and by increasing physical activity to at least 200 minutes per week of brisk walking or similarly intense exercise. The women's average age was 53.
The only variable found by the researchers that curbed hot flashes in the women studied was weight loss. There was no association between physical activity, calorie intake, blood pressure or overall self- functioning.
According to the authors, "among women who were at least slightly bothered by flushing at baseline, the intensive lifestyle intervention was associated with significantly greater decreases in weight, body mass index, abdominal circumference and systolic and diastolic blood pressure relative to the control group."
The authors also say there may be unknown factors accounting for fewer hot flashes among the women who lost weight. However, the findings suggest that losing weight could also mean women could lose the hot flashes.
Arch Intern Med. 2010;170:1161-0