Several weeks of acupuncture can help alleviate hot flashes and other disruptive symptoms commonly associated with menopause, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the University of Southern Denmark conducted the study and found that just five weeks of acupuncture correlated with less severe mood swings, better sleep, and less excessive sweating for menopausal women.
The study was published in the journal BMJ Open, and the researchers say that acupuncture could be a viable alternative for women who don’t want to try hormone replacement therapy.
Hot flashes are one of the most common menopausal symptoms, but other sometimes debilitating and uncomfortable symptoms include fatigue, a lowered sex drive, memory issues, and night sweats.
Hormone therapy is effective but can also come with side-effects that can be just as troubling.
70 menopausal women were recruited for the study and split into two groups. One group was assigned a five-week course of standardized Western acupuncture with 15 minute weekly sessions, and the second group was not allowed to get any acupuncture done until after six weeks.
Before the first session and after follow-ups 3, 6, 8, 11, and 26 weeks later the participants filled out Meno Scores (MSQ) questionnaires. The questionnaires had graded scales for the different symptoms of menopause.
The group that was assigned the five weeks of treatment had fewer hot flashes and were able to cope better with less troubling symptoms compared to the other group.
The study was limited in its small sample size and study period of five weeks of treatments. However, the researchers are confident in the results and say that even a brief course of acupuncture could help ease menopausal symptoms.
“Not all menopausal women need or request treatment, and we believe this acupuncture intervention is most relevant to women who experience moderate-to-severe menopausal symptoms,” the researchers wrote in their study. “Acupuncture for menopausal symptoms is a realistic option for women who cannot, or do not wish to use [hormone therapy].”