Menopausal hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms that women experience in their forties and fifties. From our elderly sisters or our moms we might learn a treatment for hot flash that’s effective. If we go to the doctor, he/she may recommend hormone replacement, although less commonly as at the same time. We can pay a visit to the pharmacist or the herbalist, a nutritionist or a therapist. All of them have different recommendations.
Researchers studying the efficacy of numerous treatments for menopausal hot flashes have discovered some interesting results. Nutritional supplements containing soy isoflavones are an effective treatment for hot flash, but dietary flaxseed and soy milk aren’t effective. Acupuncture may reduce the intensity of night sweats. Mindfulness based stress reduction diminished the severity of hot flashes by 40 percent in women studied over an 11 week period. Gingko and ginseng are powerful, but black cohosh seems to be the best herbal remedy for hot flash, equivalent to results achieved using hormone replacement therapy, with no ill side effects. And then there are the studies which say more studies will need to be done.
Some specialists suggest that adding soy to the diet or eating more soy is more powerful than supplements which contain soy isoflavones. (Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen, a plant element which has an estrogen-like influence on the body.) If you consider the latest similar studies, nutritional supplements containing soy isoflavones used over a 3 month period by 766 girls led to an 87.8% decrease in hot flash symptoms. Whereas, in a study where 31 girls ate muffins made from soy flour (equal to 25 g of soy) once per day for 16 weeks, there was no substantial decrease in hot flash symptoms.
Women experiencing severe hot flashes and night sweats participated in an experiment with acupuncture. After nine sessions over seven months, these women reported a 28% decrease in hot flashes and a 47% decrease in night sweats.
Stress is thought to increase the frequency and severity of menopausal hot flashes. Mindfulness based stress reduction is a particular sort of therapy which helps women reduce the stress in their own lives and teaches them to relax. As stated previously, this sort of therapy decreased the severity of hot flashes by 40 percent in women studied over an 11 week period.
In the year 2006, there have been over 40 published studies regarding black cohosh as a treatment for hot flash and for other advantages associated with the herb. One study found that black cohosh was more powerful than isoflavones from soy or red clover. No percent was granted, but if soy isoflavones can reduce hot flashes by almost 88 percent and black cohosh is much more successful, then we get an idea of just how successful black cohosh can be. Because the herb is so powerful, there have been concerns over security, but so far there isn’t any evidence to indicate that these concerns are warranted. In reality several studies have demonstrated that it might be useful in cancer prevention.
Many researchers think that physicians should use caution when recommending herbal remedies for menopausal hot flashes, but others have recommended that physicians should explore these natural alternatives with their patients. While black cohosh is an effective treatment for hot flash, soy isoflavones and other plant derivatives might be more effective for different symptoms. To find out more about alleviating menopausal hot flashes, please see the Menopause and PMS Guide.