Acupuncture Reduces Menopause Symptoms

A 2016 pragmatic, randomized controlled trial found that a course of acupuncture treatments was associated with significant reduction in vasomotor symptoms (VMS), as well as several quality of life measures, compared with no acupuncture, and that clinical benefit persisted for at least 6 months beyond the end of treatment.

“A total of 209 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women aged 45-60 experiencing ≥4 VMS per day recruited from the community and randomized to receive up to 20 acupuncture treatments within the first 6 months (acupuncture group) or the second 6 months (waitlist control group) of the 12-month study period.”

“Vasomotor symptoms (VMS), which include hot flashes and night sweats, are the most common and troubling symptoms associated with menopause. Although some women report experiencing the menopausal transition without any VMS, for other women, these symptoms can be frequent and severe and interfere with daily activities and quality of life. Recent estimates suggest that frequent menopausal VMS can continue for a median of 7.4 years. Further, VMS are the chief menopause-related problems for which US women seek medical attention.”

Hormone therapy (estrogen alone or in combination with progesterone) is currently known as the most effective treatment for vasomotor symptoms of menopause, but is associated with a number of risks and side effects. “Many women seek alternatives such as other pharmaceutical agents, herbal or dietary remedies, or behavioral therapies. Unfortunately, many of these agents also have side effects and/or have not been shown to be effective.”

The results of the study show that “VMS frequency declining by 36.7% at 6 months in the acupuncture group and increasing by 6.0% in the control group.” “The reduction in VMS was largely maintained for 6 months after discontinuing acupuncture treatments”.

“At the 6-month follow-up, the acupuncture group was 19 points lower than the controls on the hot flash interference scale”. “Participants in the acupuncture group also reported significantly fewer sleep problems.” “Women in the acupuncture group also reported significantly fewer symptoms on the WHQ: vasomotor, anxiety, somatic symptoms, and memory. At 12 months, the effects of acupuncture were maintained in the acupuncture group for all of these outcomes.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4874921/

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