ExerciseHigh Blood PressureMenopauseObesity

Intensive behavioral weight loss lessens hot flashes

Higher body mass index (BMI) is associated with worse hot flushes during menopause, but the effect of weight loss on flushing is unclear.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, studied overweight and obese women who complained of bothersome hot flushes.

First, the details.

  • 338 overweight or obese women with urinary incontinence were randomly assigned to a treatment group for 6 months.
    • Intensive behavioral weight loss program
    • Structured health education program (control)
  • Each women completed a self-administered questionnaire to assess bothersome hot flushes.
  • Weight, BMI, abdominal circumference, physical activity, calorie intake, blood pressure, and physical and mental functioning were assessed.

And, the results.

  • Approximately half of the women were at least slightly bothered by hot flushes at the start of the study.
  • Among these women, the intensive behavioral weight loss program was associated with greater improvement in bothersome flushes compared to the education group.
  • Reductions in weight, BMI, and abdominal circumference were each associated with improvement in flushing.
  • Changes in physical activity, calorie intake, blood pressure, and physical and mental functioning had no effect.

The bottom line?

So, it’s not sufficient to do stuff (get active, eat less), you actually have to achieve positive results (reduce weight, lower BMI, get thinner).

The authors concluded, “Among women who were overweight or obese and had bothersome hot flushes, an intensive behavioral weight loss intervention resulted in improvement in flushing relative to control.”

Improving hot flashes is a popular area of CAM research. Studies using acupuncture, exercise, and supplements can be found here.

7/18/10 18:18 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.