Relaxation good therapy for hot flushes in post-menopausal women

November 22, 2012

Women who have undergone group therapy and learned to relax have reduced their menopausal troubles by half, according to results of a study at Linköping University and Linköping University Hospital in Sweden. Seven out of every ten women undergoing menopause have at some point experienced problems with hot flushes and sweating. For one in ten women, the problems lasted five years or longer, primarily causing discomfort in social situations and insomnia. The background to this is not known. What is known is that the decreasing amounts of the female hormone oestrogen - which occurs after menopause - affects the brain's heat regulation centre in the hypothalamus.

Medication with oestrogen has proven to have a good effect. At the end of the 1990s, Swedish doctors prescribed hormone tablets to around 40% of women with moderate to severe symptoms. But since new observations have shown that the treatment increased the risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, their use has decreased drastically. Today, the number of women with menopausal problems receiving oestrogen is down to 10%.

The situation triggered an interest in alternative forms of treatment. For her doctoral thesis, Women's Clinic consultant Elizabeth Nedstrand arranged a study where a group of women were randomly assigned to three different treatments alongside oestrogen: acupuncture, exercise, and applied relaxation - a method based on cognitive behaviour therapy developed by psychologist Lars-Göran Öst.

The results were so interesting that a larger randomised study around the effects of applied relaxation began n in 2007. 60 women who saw a doctor for moderate to severe symptoms occurring at least 50 times a week - but who were otherwise completely healthy - were randomly assigned to two groups: one had ten sessions of group therapy and the other received no treatment whatsoever. The results are now being published by Nedstrand and Lotta Lindh-Åstrand in the scientific journal Menopause.

Nedstrand herself conducted the therapy, which is based on learning to find the muscle groups in one's body and getting the body to relax with the help of breathing techniques.

"The participants were given exercises to practice daily at home. The goal was for them to learn to use the method on their own and to be able to manage their own symptoms.

During the intervention period and for three months thereafter, the women kept a diary of their hot flushes. They also had to fill out a "quality of life" survey on three occasions, in addition to submitting a saliva sample for analysis of the stress hormone cortisol.

The results were striking. The women in the treatment group reduced the number of hot flushes per day from an average of 9.1 to 4.4; the effect remained for three months after the last therapy session. The numbers in the control group also decreased, but only from 9.7 to 7.8.

The women in the therapy group also reported improved quality of life as regards memory and concentration, sleep, and anxiety. On the other hand, there were no statistically significant differences in stress hormone secretion.

"The study confirms that applied relaxation can help women with menopausal troubles. My hope is that women can be offered this treatment in primary care and from private health care providers," Nedstrand says.
-end-
Article: Effects of applied relaxation on vasomotor symptoms in postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial by Lotta Lindh-Åstrand and Elizabeth Nedstrand. Menopause Vol 20 No 4, published ahead of print 14 November 2012.

http://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Abstract/publishahead/Effects_of_applied_relaxation_on_vasomotor.98721.aspx DOI:1097/gme.0b013e318272ce80

Linköping University

Related Hot Flushes Articles from Brightsurf:

The universe is getting hot, hot, hot, a new study suggests
The universe is getting hotter, a new study has found.

Hot flushes and night sweats linked to 70% increase in cardiovascular disease
New research from The University of Queensland has found that women who have hot flushes and night sweats after menopause are 70 per cent more likely to have heart attacks, angina and strokes.

What makes Saturn's atmosphere so hot
New analysis of data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft found that electric currents, triggered by interactions between solar winds and charged particles from Saturn's moons, spark the auroras and heat the planet's upper atmosphere.

Hot flashes impair memory performance
If you're having difficulty identifying the right word to express yourself clearly or remembering a story correctly, you may blame menopause.

Irrigation alleviates hot extremes
Researchers from ETH Zurich and other universities found evidence that expanding irrigation has dampened anthropogenic warming during hot days, with particularly strong effects over South Asia.

Hot electrons harvested without tricks
Semiconductors convert energy from photons into an electron current. However, some photons carry too much energy for the material to absorb.

How hot (and not-so-hot) compounds in chili peppers change during ripening
Anyone who has tasted a hot chili pepper has felt the burn of capsaicinoids, the compounds that give peppers their spiciness, as well as possible health benefits.

Is your melanoma hot enough for immunotherapy?
University of Colorado Cancer Center study presented at AACR 2019 shows that tumors with mutations in genes leading to over-activation of the NF-kB signaling pathway were more than three times as likely to respond to anti-PD1 immunotherapy compared with tumors in which these changes were absent.

A microbial hot spring in your basement
Microbes that thrive in some of the most extreme places on Earth have discovered another cozy place to live -- inside homes across the United States.

High-temperature electronics? That's hot
A new organic polymer blend allows plastic electronics to function in high temperatures without sacrificing performance.

Read More: Hot Flushes News and Hot Flushes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.