With as many as 70% of all post-menopausal women experiencing hot flashes, including night sweats the need to find an effective treatment is a high priority for many of them.
Well, new research seems to suggest that weight loss may be able to ease the effects of hot flashes.
What are hot flashes?
As a woman ages and starts to approach the menopause their ovaries will start to shut down, which means that they will stop producing eggs and the hormone oestrogen.
This hormone is used for a variety of different functions including the ability to control your body temperature, therefore resulting in a rise in hot flashes.
What did the study involve?
A team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pennsylvania recruited 40 overweight or obese women who had reported 4 or more hot flashes per day and wished to lose weight.
These women were split randomly into 2 groups, with 1 group given advise how to lose weight through diet and exercise, with the other group being put on a waiting list for 6 months for the same information.
During the study the women were asked to keep a diary showing when they experienced a hot flash. The women also wore a sensor to measure their skin temperature during the experience.
At the end of the 6 months those who were given the weight loss advice had lost an average of 19lbs with a 5% reduction in body fat. They also noted that they were now experiencing fewer hot flashes.
Those on the waiting list unsurprisingly saw their weight stay around the same, along with a similar amount of hot flashes as experienced before the study began.
Rebecca Thurston, a psychiatry professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pennsylvania had this to say about the results:
“With respect to the actual role that weight loss may have played versus some other aspects of the intervention, such as psychological factors, the fact that the amount of weight loss was correlated with changes in hot flashes supports the idea that it was indeed the weight loss that was important for changes in hot flashes”
Traditional treatments for hot flashes
In the past hot flashes have been treated using hormone replacement therapy. However this form of treatment has been shown to be expensive and could pose a risk to your health.
There have also been 2 different antidepressants that have been approved for use to treat the symptoms of the menopause.
Although this study sounds promising the research is still in its infancy with more research needed for conclusive proof.
Of course weight loss offers various other benefits, so if you are carrying a little extra weight why not try to lose a little as it will still improve your overall health with a reduction in your hot flashes a potential bonus.