Antidepressants have shown to be an effective treatment to treat hot flushes for women who cannot use estrogen therapy (ie. breast cancer patients) or who choose not to use hormones.
Integrative therapies have a role in improving quality of life of cancer patients and those suffering from hot flushes. A randomized controlled study was performed to determine whether acupuncture would be effective in helping women whom were symptomatic.
Women were assigned to 12 weeks of therapy with acupuncture vs a popular antidepressant, venlafaxine (otherwise known as Effexor).
The results were impressive. Both treatment groups had similar outcomes with decreases in not only hot flushes, but other menopausal quality of life symptoms including depression. Both groups had a 50% decrease in hot flushes; however, 2 weeks after treatment, hot flushes in the Effexor group increased while in the acupuncture group, symptoms remained low. Also, there were no side effects in the acupuncture group vs the drug group in which some women experienced nausea, headache, difficulty sleeping, and dizziness.
Acupuncture is an important option for women suffering from hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms.