Acupuncture and Hot Flashes

 

Exploring Acupuncture as a treatment for hot flashes.

Hot flashes are one of the most troublesome symptoms of menopause. They’re uncomfortable, embarrassing and can have a huge negative effect on quality of life and quality of work. Estrogen is an effective treatment, but many women either can’t or don’t want to take it. Some would prefer not to take antidepressants, which are another commonly used prescription option for hot flashes.

The February 2015 issue of the journal Menopause offered a review article of the controlled studies done using acupuncture as a treatment for hot flashes in natural menopause among women age 40-60 years. I think you’ll find the results interesting.

The study included several forms of acupuncture: traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture (TCMA), acupressure, electroacupuncture, laser acupuncture, ear acupuncture and moxibustion.

The study found that acupuncture improved the severity and frequency of hot flashes – and the benefits lasted for up to 3 months.

The study found that acupuncture improved the severity and frequency of hot flashes – and the benefits lasted for up to 3 months. In addition, evaluations of overall “Quality of Life,” a parameter that can be measured, also showed improvement due to the improved hot flashes. Acupuncture did not improve other aspects of quality of life such as psychiatric, physical and sexual satisfaction.

So what does this study mean – and what does it mean to you?

If you are suffering with hot flashes, particularly if you are a woman with breast cancer or one who wants to avoid both estrogen and other prescription treatments, find a qualified acupuncturist. Ask for their credentials and if they are familiar with acupuncture treatment for hot flashes. If so, acupuncture should be considered as an alternative to estrogen and other prescription medications for the treatment of hot flashes.

– Mache Seibel, MD

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