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Heading Off Hot Flashes

Exercise is a viable option to reduce hot flashesTwo new studies have zeroed in on lifestyle strategies for dealing with hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. The first, from Finland, found that women who exercised regularly complained less about their symptoms than a comparable group of women who didn't exercise. The researchers randomly assigned 74 women aged 45 to 63 who were experiencing menopausal symptoms to exercise for 50 minutes, four days a week for 24 weeks. After six months, the percentage of women in the study experiencing night sweats dropped from 60 percent to 50 percent; the percentage of women reporting mood swings and irritability, dropped from about 20 percent to 10 percent. These results were much better than those reported by the 77 women in a comparison group who attended health lectures instead of exercising. The second study, from the UK, included 140 women who were divided into three groups, each receiving different levels of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which aims to change unhealthy thought patterns. The researchers reported that for 65 percent of women in the first group, who participated in four sessions of group-based behavioral therapy for their hot flashes and night sweats, there was a significant difference. The second group received a self-help version of the treatment and 73 percent of the women in that group reported that their symptoms were less problematic after six weeks; the third group had no CBT treatment at all, and only 21 percent of these women reported a decrease in their symptoms. Both studies were published online in February 2012 by the journal Menopause.

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Reader Comments (2)

Funny, I am 4 years post-op and the days that I exercise result in the nights when I experience hot flashes. I recently read online that exercise reduces estrogen which in turn causes hot flashes in menopausal women. Interesting that this study suggests otherwise. I think it is more likely that menopause symptoms are individual and that these studies are pretty much irrelevant since they attempt to generalize symptoms and treatment.

June 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngela
I agree, Angela. The more I exercise the more intense and frequent they become. Back to the drawing board, researchers!
October 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

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