Menopause Qs you’re not asking

August 26th, 2014

Editor’s note: Dr. Deepali Patni is a board-certified OB/GYN at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston.

(CNN) — Menopause: the permanent end of fertility (and periods!) that commonly happens to women in their late 40s and 50s. For many women, just saying the word “menopause” can increase anxiety levels.

Change is never easy, especially as we get older. And although menopause symptoms — night sweats, mood swings, sleep problems, weight gain — make it seem like a daunting time in a woman’s life, there are many things that your gynecologist can do to help you through this transition.

One of the issues I find in my own practice is that there is plenty of misinformation about menopause, making it hard to separate myth from fact. Talking with your gynecologist about this very important change can help alleviate some of the confusion — and maybe even improve your symptoms.

Frequent questions that have come up in my practice include:

My sex drive isn’t what it used to be. Why?

There are many hormonal changes that a woman experiences in her transition to menopause. Estrogen and testosterone levels may drop, causing a decreased interest in sex or vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable.

If loss of libido is an issue for you — or your partner — talk to your gynecologist. He or she can work with you to determine the most appropriate treatment plan. Sometimes the fix can be simple, such as increasing the time that it takes for you to become aroused before intercourse, or incorporating the use of a lubricant or moisturizer. Other times, a gynecologist will recommend hormone replacement therapy.

Although there aren’t any FDA-approved testosterone replacement products for women, in the appropriate patient, testosterone combined with estrogen replacement can have a beneficial impact. Keep in mind testosterone therapy can have significant side effects and the long-term risks have not been fully studied.

Menopause has made sex painful. What can I do?

If you’re one of the menopausal women who suffer silently from pain during intercourse, you are not alone. Many don’t realize that vulvovaginal atrophy is a common condition that happens as a result of the thinning and weakening of vaginal tissues due to a drop in estrogen after menopause.

Make an appointment to see your gynecologist to talk about the available treatment options, which range from vaginal moisturizers and water-based lubricants to topical or oral estrogen treatment.

Do I still need to worry about sexually transmitted illnesses?

Sexually transmitted illnesses are — and always will be — a concern for women, even menopausal women. If you are not in a mutually monogamous relationship, always use a condom to help protect against diseases that can be passed through sexual contact.

Sexually transmitted illnesses do not discriminate based on age, and I’ve seen menopausal women who have contracted chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, syphilis and HIV.

What about pregnancy?

Pregnancy in menopause does not happen, but there are some women who believe they have reached menopause and became pregnant, only to find out later that they were still perimenopausal. The general rule is that if you have not had your period in 12 months, then you are in menopause and unlikely to get pregnant. This can be confirmed with a simple blood test.

I’m feeling a lot of pressure down there. Is that bad?

Little alarm bells should ring if you are feeling constant pressure in your pelvic area. It doesn’t necessarily mean that something life threatening is happening, but now would be the time to make an appointment with a gynecologist to get it checked out.

If you have reached menopause, there are many things that could be causing pressure in the pelvic region, ranging from constipation and fibroid tumors to pelvic floor disorders and cancer. Do not let this symptom go unchecked.

Women who have questions about menopause should seek a trusted source for information. Your gynecologist is ready to help guide you through this next phase in your life.



Source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/cnn_health/~3/JYRv912hjSI/index.html

Depression less likely in women after the menopause

August 25th, 2014

Depression less likely in women after the menopause

BMJ Group News


What do we know already?

69x75_concerned_woman_3.jpg

Many of the symptoms women get during the menopause begin in the years leading up to it, when the levels of sex hormones in a woman’s body start to fall.

But there are lots of emotional changes, such as feeling low or depressed, which some women may experience during or after the menopause.

Researchers aren’t sure whether these emotional changes are caused by changes in hormone levels or whether there are other causes, such as ageing or the lifestyle changes that women may face at this time of life.

To find out more, researchers studied 203 women aged between 35 and 48 who hadn’t yet reached menopause when the study started. The researchers interviewed the women about their depression symptoms every nine months for several years before and after the menopause. From this the researchers worked out when a woman’s risk of depression is highest – before or after the menopause.

Slideshow: All about menopause and perimenopause

What does the new study say?

Women were more likely to have depression symptoms before the menopause than after.

The average age at which women in the study had their last period was 51. Ten years before their last period, about 40 in 100 women had depression symptoms who hadn’t had any symptoms before the start of the study. Eight years after the menopause, when women in the study were an average age of 59, this had fallen to about 8 in 100 women with depression.

The chance of getting depression fell by about 12 percent every year during the study. The risk also fell as a woman’s level of a sex hormone called follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) fell. This suggests that the risk of depression in women during the menopause is linked to sex hormone levels.

How reliable is the research?

This is a small study so we can’t rely too much on its findings. We would need larger studies to be more confident that the results are reliable.

Because the researchers only asked about depression symptoms every nine months, they may have missed some women who had episodes of depression between interviews. The questionnaire the researchers used only suggests that women may have depression, but the researchers didn’t confirm this with a doctor.

What does this mean for me?

In this study the number of women who had depression symptoms dropped consistently, starting 10 years before they had their final menstrual period until eight years after.

This suggests that, for women who feel low or depressed as they get closer to menopause, these changes in mood may not be permanent. Women who have passed the menopause are much less likely to have symptoms of depression.

Originally posted 2013-11-20 03:15:04. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Non-Western experiences discounted in standard approaches to menopause symptoms

August 24th, 2014

Dr Mwenza T. Blell of the University of Bristol interviewed 257 British Pakistani women aged 39-61 living in West Yorkshire and found that the standard checklist approach to studying menopause symptoms, which ignores women’s understanding of their own experience, leaves researchers and clinicians with gaps in their knowledge of the ‘true’ symptoms of menopause.

Many previous studies into the menopause have relied on standardised checklists, such as the Blatt-Kupperman index and the Menopause Symptom Checklist, that were derived from the clinical experiences of women living in New York and Chicago in the mid-twentieth century and so focus on a distinctly Western bio-medical model of menopause.

Dr Blell’s study explored the potential of using an alternative approach to better identify women’s beliefs about the experiences attributable to menopause. Information was gathered through interviews and in informal settings in order to gain a more rounded understanding of the variety of beliefs within the British Pakistani community. The findings suggest a considerable discrepancy between women’s understanding of menopausal symptoms and the assumptions made by previous research.

Dr Blell said: “The standardised checklists claim to tell the whole story of what menopause is when really we haven’t let everyone be part of the conversation. By adopting a more open-ended approach, instead of the standard checklist mode, useful data can be captured that specifically reflects varied beliefs and understandings of the experience of the menopause.”

For example, the use of a more open-ended approach highlighted that many of the study participants mentioned an increase in the size of the abdomen – which many standard checklists consider to be unrelated to menopause – as one of their symptoms.

This is an important finding as it suggests other populations may have a different understanding about the relationship between changes in body fat patterning and menopause that has not been fully explored in Western medicine due to the established assumptions surrounding the experience of menopause.

Dr Blell said: “The amazing thing is that this finding has come up before in other studies of women of South Asian origin and has just been swept under the carpet, assumed to be a mistaken belief women need to be educated out of, when that really isn’t the case.”

The research concludes that the symptom experience of non-Western groups has not had the opportunity to inform theoretical developments around menopause symptoms in the same way that the experience of Western groups has.

The understanding of other groups may indicate new directions for research such as the identification of change in body fat distribution, which seems to apply cross-culturally, and its relationship with the local understanding of menopause and its population-specific chronic disease risk.

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/277602.php

Menopause: Qs you’re not asking

August 23rd, 2014

Editor’s note: Dr. Deepali Patni is a board-certified OB/GYN at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston.

(CNN) — Menopause: the permanent end of fertility (and periods!) that commonly happens to women in their late 40s and 50s. For many women, just saying the word “menopause” can increase anxiety levels.

Change is never easy, especially as we get older. And although menopause symptoms — night sweats, mood swings, sleep problems, weight gain — make it seem like a daunting time in a woman’s life, there are many things that your gynecologist can do to help you through this transition.

One of the issues I find in my own practice is that there is plenty of misinformation about menopause, making it hard to separate myth from fact. Talking with your gynecologist about this very important change can help alleviate some of the confusion — and maybe even improve your symptoms.

Frequent questions that have come up in my practice include:

My sex drive isn’t what it used to be. Why?

There are many hormonal changes that a woman experiences in her transition to menopause. Estrogen and testosterone levels may drop, causing a decreased interest in sex or vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable.

If loss of libido is an issue for you — or your partner — talk to your gynecologist. He or she can work with you to determine the most appropriate treatment plan. Sometimes the fix can be simple, such as increasing the time that it takes for you to become aroused before intercourse, or incorporating the use of a lubricant or moisturizer. Other times, a gynecologist will recommend hormone replacement therapy.

Although there aren’t any FDA-approved testosterone replacement products for women, in the appropriate patient, testosterone combined with estrogen replacement can have a beneficial impact. Keep in mind testosterone therapy can have significant side effects and the long-term risks have not been fully studied.

Menopause has made sex painful. What can I do?

If you’re one of the menopausal women who suffer silently from pain during intercourse, you are not alone. Many don’t realize that vulvovaginal atrophy is a common condition that happens as a result of the thinning and weakening of vaginal tissues due to a drop in estrogen after menopause.

Make an appointment to see your gynecologist to talk about the available treatment options, which range from vaginal moisturizers and water-based lubricants to topical or oral estrogen treatment.

Do I still need to worry about sexually transmitted illnesses?

Sexually transmitted illnesses are — and always will be — a concern for women, even menopausal women. If you are not in a mutually monogamous relationship, always use a condom to help protect against diseases that can be passed through sexual contact.

Sexually transmitted illnesses do not discriminate based on age, and I’ve seen menopausal women who have contracted chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, syphilis and HIV.

What about pregnancy?

Pregnancy in menopause does not happen, but there are some women who believe they have reached menopause and became pregnant, only to find out later that they were still perimenopausal. The general rule is that if you have not had your period in 12 months, then you are in menopause and unlikely to get pregnant. This can be confirmed with a simple blood test.

I’m feeling a lot of pressure down there. Is that bad?

Little alarm bells should ring if you are feeling constant pressure in your pelvic area. It doesn’t necessarily mean that something life threatening is happening, but now would be the time to make an appointment with a gynecologist to get it checked out.

If you have reached menopause, there are many things that could be causing pressure in the pelvic region, ranging from constipation and fibroid tumors to pelvic floor disorders and cancer. Do not let this symptom go unchecked.

Women who have questions about menopause should seek a trusted source for information. Your gynecologist is ready to help guide you through this next phase in your life.



Source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/cnn_health/~3/JYRv912hjSI/index.html

Menopause: What you’re not asking (but should!)

August 21st, 2014

Editor’s note: Dr. Deepali Patni is a board-certified OB/GYN at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston.

(CNN) — Menopause: the permanent end of fertility (and periods!) that commonly happens to women in their late 40s and 50s. For many women, just saying the word “menopause” can increase anxiety levels.

Change is never easy, especially as we get older. And although menopause symptoms — night sweats, mood swings, sleep problems, weight gain — make it seem like a daunting time in a woman’s life, there are many things that your gynecologist can do to help you through this transition.

One of the issues I find in my own practice is that there is plenty of misinformation about menopause, making it hard to separate myth from fact. Talking with your gynecologist about this very important change can help alleviate some of the confusion — and maybe even improve your symptoms.

Frequent questions that have come up in my practice include:

My sex drive isn’t what it used to be. Why?

There are many hormonal changes that a woman experiences in her transition to menopause. Estrogen and testosterone levels may drop, causing a decreased interest in sex or vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable.

If loss of libido is an issue for you — or your partner — talk to your gynecologist. He or she can work with you to determine the most appropriate treatment plan. Sometimes the fix can be simple, such as increasing the time that it takes for you to become aroused before intercourse, or incorporating the use of a lubricant or moisturizer. Other times, a gynecologist will recommend hormone replacement therapy.

Although there aren’t any FDA-approved testosterone replacement products for women, in the appropriate patient, testosterone combined with estrogen replacement can have a beneficial impact. Keep in mind testosterone therapy can have significant side effects and the long-term risks have not been fully studied.

Menopause has made sex painful. What can I do?

If you’re one of the menopausal women who suffer silently from pain during intercourse, you are not alone. Many don’t realize that vulvovaginal atrophy is a common condition that happens as a result of the thinning and weakening of vaginal tissues due to a drop in estrogen after menopause.

Make an appointment to see your gynecologist to talk about the available treatment options, which range from vaginal moisturizers and water-based lubricants to topical or oral estrogen treatment.

Do I still need to worry about sexually transmitted illnesses?

Sexually transmitted illnesses are — and always will be — a concern for women, even menopausal women. If you are not in a mutually monogamous relationship, always use a condom to help protect against diseases that can be passed through sexual contact.

Sexually transmitted illnesses do not discriminate based on age, and I’ve seen menopausal women who have contracted chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, syphilis and HIV.

What about pregnancy?

Pregnancy in menopause does not happen, but there are some women who believe they have reached menopause and became pregnant, only to find out later that they were still perimenopausal. The general rule is that if you have not had your period in 12 months, then you are in menopause and unlikely to get pregnant. This can be confirmed with a simple blood test.

I’m feeling a lot of pressure down there. Is that bad?

Little alarm bells should ring if you are feeling constant pressure in your pelvic area. It doesn’t necessarily mean that something life threatening is happening, but now would be the time to make an appointment with a gynecologist to get it checked out.

If you have reached menopause, there are many things that could be causing pressure in the pelvic region, ranging from constipation and fibroid tumors to pelvic floor disorders and cancer. Do not let this symptom go unchecked.

Women who have questions about menopause should seek a trusted source for information. Your gynecologist is ready to help guide you through this next phase in your life.



Source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/cnn_health/~3/JYRv912hjSI/index.html

Determining dosage of testosterone for women after menopause

August 20th, 2014

Testosterone supplementation for women is a hot topic. A new pharmacokinetics study of a brand of testosterone cream for women approved in Western Australia has been published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). For women after menopause, it took 5 mg, the lowest dose of this product, to raise testosterone back to a premenopause level.

“In the United States we do not yet have an approved testosterone product designed for women,” says NAMS Executive Director Margery Gass, MD. “As a result, American women sometimes rely on custom-compounded testosterone prescriptions that may deliver much higher doses than the Australian product and raise women’s testosterone to levels higher than normal, potentially producing untoward side effects.” According to Dr. Gass, there are no long-term studies of the effects of testosterone treatment on women’s overall health. We do know that too much testosterone in a woman’s body may result in excess body hair, acne, male-pattern hair loss, enlarged clitoris, deeper voice, liver damage, unhealthy changes in cholesterol, depression, aggression and more. And, the voice changes and clitoral enlargement may be irreversible.

Researchers from Monash University in Melbourne and the University of South Australia in Adelaide tested two different doses of the testosterone cream product known as AndroFeme (5 mg and 10 mg doses). After 21 days of daily administration, the 5-mg dose brought postmenopausal women’s peak blood levels of total testosterone right into the normal premenopausal range – with a peak slightly above the upper limit of the premenopause normal and 24-hour average to slightly below the limit. The 10-mg dose raised testosterone levels to a higher peak but only somewhat higher than the norm (50%) over 24 hours.

“Since custom-compounded formulations are not FDA approved and are not routinely checked for dose content, it is difficult to know how a given formulation will affect women’s testosterone levels. Women should be cautious about what dose of testosterone they are receiving and whether they really need it.” advises Dr. Gass.

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/278105.php

Decision aids to simplify menopause consults and therapy

August 18th, 2014


Primary care physicians now have access to a “toolkit” of decision aids aiming to simplify the process of menopause diagnosis and management for the women who present concerns or symptoms.

The one-page flowchart algorithms were developed by researchers from Monash University in Victoria, Australia, who felt that a “void” needed filling amid the various guidelines on menopause that can run to dozens of pages in length.

The easy-to-use information should make effective menopause management more realistic within the short consultations women have with their primary care physicians.

The team was led by Prof. Susan Davis, of the School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine at Monash. She says: “There are many detailed guidelines available on menopause, but the reality is that most GPs don’t have the time to work through a 40-page report when they only have 5 or 10 minutes with a patient.”

Prof. Davis adds:

“With many recent medical graduates receiving little training in this area, we realised there was a clear need for simple and practical guidelines.”

The decision aids developed by the team are applicable globally after they trawled all the best available evidence and took account of the different therapies used around the world.

Crunching these details down into flowcharts, the team was aiming to remove the “widespread confusion, not only in how to determine when menopause starts but also prescribing appropriate treatment.”


“Half the world’s population will experience menopause as some point in their lives, yet there isn’t a commonly used diagnostic tool, and that’s creating confusion amongst women and doctors,” Prof. Davis says, adding:

“Many people think the menopause is the same for every woman but the reality is quite different. Every woman has her own individual experience of menopause and that sometimes makes it tricky to diagnose.”

The team published their resource in the journal Climacteric, and the authors write: “To our knowledge, this is the first clinical practice tool for the management of the menopause in primary care that has international application.”

The toolkit is available online for free, and the assessment and management algorithms – which can be assembled into a folded desktop reference with brief supporting text – include these flowcharts:

  • The woman’s symptoms and concerns
  • Menopause staging decision tool – to “accommodate women who may have amenorrhea” for other reasons (for example, they have stopped menstruating because of surgery)
  • Assessment – taking a history, doing a physical examination and ordering any tests
  • Treatment options (including hormonal and non-hormonal)
  • Symptom management – to address an individual woman’s specific problems.

Evidence-based resource on hormone therapy

The resource is the result of the team’s “detailed literature reviews and expert opinion, and provide evidence-based clinical practice guidance.”

The toolkit uses standardised questions for doctors to ask women who are potentially experiencing menopause, and includes flags for safety concerns. It lists all hormone therapies approved by regulators in different countries and “non-hormonal therapies that have evidence to support their use.”

mature lady
Dr. Fenton says menopause is an “area fraught with myths and misinformation.”

The decision aids help to weigh up the risks and benefits of menopausal treatment, Prof. Davis says, adding:

“Hormone therapy is commonly prescribed to women, but its success varies according to symptom type and severity, personal circumstances and medical background.


“This toolkit has the potential to change that because it’s designed to work as just as well for a 41-year-old woman in Madras as it will for the 48-year-old in Manhattan.”

The roll out of the globally applicable guidance is being promoted by the International Menopause Society (IMS).

The IMS says it is “the first to present structured practical advice” and its president, Rod Baber, says the toolkit builds on formal guidelines on menopause. He adds:

“This will ensure that each individual woman is well informed about what happens to her as she ages, about what options for treatment and monitoring are available and, lastly, what the menopausal hormone therapy options are.”

The researchers have also attracted the support of Dr. Anna Fenton, an endocrinologist and president of the Australasian Menopause Society.

Dr. Fenton says menopause is an “area fraught with myths and misinformation,” adding:

“Many women are confused and uncertain about how best to deal with the menopause. Doctors can also face uncertainty in how best to treat and support patients with menopausal symptoms. This toolkit has the potential to change that.”

In other menopause findings, according to researchers publishing in the journal Menopause in January 2014, smoking causes earlier menopause in some white women.

In June 2013, Brisdelle (paroxetine) became the first non-hormonal treatment for hot flashes to be approved by the FDA.

Written by Markus MacGill

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/279225.php

Women of color not so well-informed about incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse

August 18th, 2014

Knowing what symptoms to look for may help women with pelvic floor disorders improve their chances of successful treatment. But knowledge of these disorders is lacking among most women, and especially among women of color, according to a new study by researchers at Yale School of Medicine.

The study appears in the October issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Insufficient knowledge and misconceptions about pelvic floor disorders, which include urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse, are thought to be one of the biggest barriers to seeking care. “If we can improve knowledge about pelvic floor disorders, we may be able to improve outcomes for all women,” said corresponding author Marsha K. Guess, M.D.

Pelvic floor disorders are a major public health concern, Guess said, noting that about 25% of women 20 years or older in the United States suffer from at least one of the three most prevalent pelvic floor disorders: urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse. Recent epidemiologic studies project that the number of women with these disorders will increase significantly over the next 40 years. The United States spends over $12 billion annually for the management and treatment of urinary incontinence alone, and this number is also expected to rise in the coming years.

Guess and her colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study of 431 women of all ages, races, and socioeconomic levels. They found that over 71% of these women lacked knowledge about urinary incontinence, and 48% lacked knowledge about pelvic organ prolapse. After adjusting for age, race, household income, and education, the researchers determined that African-American women and the combined group of Hispanic, Asian and other non-white women were significantly less knowledgeable about these conditions than their white counterparts.

“Improving knowledge about health problems has proven effective in promoting behavioral change, reducing levels of disease symptoms, and improving compliance with treatment for other chronic diseases,” said Charisse Mandimika, a Yale School of Medicine student who was the study’s first author. “This study shows that African-American women and non-white groups in general are not benefiting from this knowledge.”

The study also found that women with a history of pelvic organ prolapse demonstrated greater knowledge than women who had not had this problem, but women with a history of urinary incontinence did not have more knowledge of the disorder than their unaffected counterparts.

“Another very concerning finding is that the majority of women who experienced urinary incontinence had not received treatment,” said Guess. “Culturally sensitive educational interventions are urgently needed to raise awareness, and address these disparities in knowledge head on.

Originally posted 2013-11-16 08:56:02. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/268125.php

Correlation found between weight loss and hot flash reduction in menopause

August 17th, 2014

Now women have yet one more incentive to lose weight as a new study has shown evidence that behavioral weight loss can help manage menopausal hot flashes.

The pilot study, which was published online last month in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), consisted of 40 overweight or obese white and African-American women with hot flashes, which are the most prevalent symptom of menopause. In fact, more than 70% of women report hot flashes during the menopausal transition, with many of these women reporting frequent or severe hot flashes. Since women with hot flashes are at greater risk for poor quality of life, sleep problems and a depressed mood, interest in identifying methods for managing hot flashes is growing. In addition, newer data indicate that hot flashes are typically persistent, lasting an average of nine years or more.

For purposes of the pilot clinical trial, hot flashes were assessed before and after intervention via physiologic monitoring, diary and questionnaire. The study confirmed a significant correlation between weight loss and hot flashes. Furthermore, the degree of weight loss correlated with the degree of reduction in hot flashes.

Although newer data has suggested a positive relationship between hot flashes and the percentage of fat in a woman’s body, no studies, to date, had been specifically designed to test whether weight loss reduces hot flashes. The authors of this pilot study concluded that, while the results were encouraging in proving the benefits of weight reduction in the management of menopausal hot flashes, more than anything, the findings indicate the importance of conducting a larger study.

“This is encouraging news for women looking for relief for this bothersome midlife symptom,” says NAMS Executive Director Margery Gass, MD. “Not only might behavior weight loss provide a safe, effective remedy for many women, but it also encourages a health-promoting behavior. Since many of the women in this pilot study indicated their primary motivator for losing weight was hot flash reduction, we know that this could be a strong incentive for women to engage in a healthier lifestyle which provides numerous other health benefits beyond hot flash management.”

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/279301.php

Correlation found between weight loss and hot flash reduction in menopause

August 15th, 2014

Now women have yet one more incentive to lose weight as a new study has shown evidence that behavioral weight loss can help manage menopausal hot flashes.

The pilot study, which was published online last month in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), consisted of 40 overweight or obese white and African-American women with hot flashes, which are the most prevalent symptom of menopause. In fact, more than 70% of women report hot flashes during the menopausal transition, with many of these women reporting frequent or severe hot flashes. Since women with hot flashes are at greater risk for poor quality of life, sleep problems and a depressed mood, interest in identifying methods for managing hot flashes is growing. In addition, newer data indicate that hot flashes are typically persistent, lasting an average of nine years or more.

For purposes of the pilot clinical trial, hot flashes were assessed before and after intervention via physiologic monitoring, diary and questionnaire. The study confirmed a significant correlation between weight loss and hot flashes. Furthermore, the degree of weight loss correlated with the degree of reduction in hot flashes.

Although newer data has suggested a positive relationship between hot flashes and the percentage of fat in a woman’s body, no studies, to date, had been specifically designed to test whether weight loss reduces hot flashes. The authors of this pilot study concluded that, while the results were encouraging in proving the benefits of weight reduction in the management of menopausal hot flashes, more than anything, the findings indicate the importance of conducting a larger study.

“This is encouraging news for women looking for relief for this bothersome midlife symptom,” says NAMS Executive Director Margery Gass, MD. “Not only might behavior weight loss provide a safe, effective remedy for many women, but it also encourages a health-promoting behavior. Since many of the women in this pilot study indicated their primary motivator for losing weight was hot flash reduction, we know that this could be a strong incentive for women to engage in a healthier lifestyle which provides numerous other health benefits beyond hot flash management.”