Are Hot Flashes Making You Uncomfortable Daily?

Blog-Are Hot Flashes Making You Uncomfortable Daily

7 out of every 10 women under-going menopause have at some point experienced problems with hot flashes and sweating.

For 1 in 10 women, the problems lasted five years or longer, primarily causing discomfort in social situations and insomnia. According to a study out of Women Linköping University and Linköping University Hospital in Sweden, women who learn to relax can reduce these menopausal troubles by half.

Why Do Women Get Hot Flashes?

The exact cause of hot flashes is not known, but the signs and symptoms point to factors affecting the function of your body’s thermostat — the hypothalamus. This area at the base of your brain regulates body temperature and other basic processes. The estrogen reduction you experience during menopause may disrupt hypothalamic function, leading to hot flashes.

Can Medication Help?

Medication with estrogen has proven to have a good effect. At the end of the 1990’s, Swedish doctors prescribed hormone tablets to around 40% of women with moderate to severe symptoms. But since new observations have shown that the treatment increased the risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, their use has decreased drastically.

Are There Other Forms of Treatment?

The situation triggered an interest in alternative forms of treatment. For her doctoral thesis, Women’s Clinic consultant Elizabeth Nedstrand arranged a study where a group of women were randomly assigned to three different treatments alongside estrogen: acupuncture, exercise, and applied relaxation — a method based on cognitive behavior therapy.

The results were so interesting that a larger randomized study around the effects of applied relaxation began in 2007. Sixty women who saw a doctor for moderate to severe symptoms occurring at least 50 times a week — but who were otherwise completely healthy — were randomly assigned to two groups: one had ten sessions of group therapy and the other received no treatment whatsoever.

During the intervention period and for three months thereafter, the women kept a diary of their hot flashes. They also had to fill out a “quality of life” survey on three occasions, in addition to submitting a saliva sample for analysis of the stress hormone cortisol.

The Results

The women in the treatment group reduced the number of hot flashes per day from an average of 9.1 to 4.4; the effect remained for three months after the last therapy session. The numbers in the control group also decreased, but only from 9.7 to 7.8.

The women in the therapy group also reported improved quality of life as regards memory and concentration, sleep, and anxiety. On the other hand, there were no statistically significant differences in stress hormone secretion.

The study confirms that applied relaxation can help women with menopausal troubles. Our hope is that women can be offered this treatment in primary care and from private health care providers.

Feel Better Today

At Amen Clinics, we have spent decades helping people just like you improve their overall health and thus their brain health. We offer a full breadth of treatment options and services, including an integrative medicine program. Call us today at 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit.

2 Comments

  1. I am amazed how much diet impacts my hot flashes. They are little or no problem when I am eating well. As soon as sugar and junk food slip back in, they are out of control.

    Comment by Susan — May 7, 2018 @ 10:43 AM

  2. That’s amazing Susan! Thanks for the comment. An even more reason for me to get committed to improving my diet.

    Comment by Shelia — May 8, 2018 @ 11:58 AM

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