Acupuncture and Other Natural Remedies to Relieve Menopause Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are one of the most troublesome symptoms women experience during menopause. In addition to the advice you receive from your doctor, here are some natural options you can adopt at home.
Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have found that acupuncture can help relieve hot flashes by almost half for about 50% of women over an 8-week treatment period. In past studies, acupuncture also helped with improved sleep and less pain.
It is thought that acupuncture affects the sympathetic nervous system, as well as the release of hormones such as cortisol, endorphins, and serotonin.
"Women bothered by hot flashes and night sweats may want to give acupuncture a try as a relatively low-cost, low-risk treatment," said Nancy Avis, Ph.D., lead author of the study and professor of Public Health Sciences at Wake Forest School of Medicine. "Women will know pretty quickly if acupuncture will work for them. Women who had a reduction in their hot flashes saw a benefit beginning after about three to four weeks of weekly treatments."
What else may be helpful in the reduction of menopausal hot flashes?
A big one is weight loss – overweight women are more likely to experience the symptoms. In a study at the University of California San Francisco, for every 11 pounds lost, the study subjects experienced a third less hot flashes.
Exercise remains important – not just for burning calories, but also because past studies have shown that regular exercisers had fewer hot flashes and those they had were less severe. Don’t forget weight training along with the cardio! These seemed to be particularly helpful in a past study by the American College of Sports Medicine.
Yoga is not only great exercise, but also an excellent stress reliever. A small study found those taking weekly 90-minute restorative yoga classes had one-third fewer hot flashes.
Diet components that are beneficial include soy foods such as tofu, edamame and miso. In a study of Japanese women, they found that after eating soy, certain bacteria in the cut convert the isoflavone diadzein into a compound known as S-equol which helped improve menopause symptoms.
Flaxseeds are also beneficial. A Mayo Clinic study found in a small study that women who ate 1.5 ounces of crushed flaxseed daily for 6 weeks had 57% fewer hot flashes. They also said their mood improved and they had less aches and pains.
Nancy E. Avis, Remy R. Coeytaux, Beverly Levine, Scott Isom, Timothy Morgan. Trajectories of response to acupuncture for menopausal vasomotor symptoms.Menopause, 2016; 1 DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000735
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By Xhienne - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons