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October 1, 2012
Hot flashes, or sudden sensations of heat, accompanied with sweating, skin redness, and other signs, are the most common symptoms of perimenopause (the menopausal transition) and actual menopause. It is estimated that every two of three women who entered the perimenopause period experience hot flashes. The causes of menopausal hot flashes remain unknown, but experts believe that this health condition may have something to do with sudden changes in blood circulation. Namely, hot flashes can occur in those moments when blood vessels located under face skin dilate to cool causing redness and feeling of hot. Duration and severity of menopausal hot flashes differ according to personal factors: some women experience only short-term flashes when they enter menopause, but some women tend to experience these symptoms till the end of their life. Hot flashes treatment include using hormone replacement therapy, taking plenty of natural sources of vitamin B and vitamin E, taking some prescription pills like antidepressants or blood pressure medications, as well as avoiding triggering factors like smoking, alcohol abuse, caffeine consumption, stresses, spicy foods, and so on.
According to the recent findings of American scientists, published this summer in Menopause journal, it is possible to use physical activities and exercise as a part of an effective hot flashes treatment program. Moreover, regular exercise can be used for reducing these menopausal symptoms and work perfectly well without any hormone replacement therapy, the researchers say. A group of experts from Penn State came to these conclusions after working with 92 women in their perimenopausal and menopausal periods. Aged between 50 and 59, the participants experienced from mild to moderate menopausal symptoms, but have never used any kind of other hot flashes treatment solutions before the experiment. All of the participants were offered to have a 2-week recreation treatment program based on physical activities and daily exercise. Moreover, in order to get better results, the researchers did not inform the participants about real objectives of their study. The women were told that they are invited to participate in a physical activity effects study, not in an experiment on menopausal hot flashes treatment.
Scientists offered the participants to wear special devices – accelerators – to control and measure their daily physical activities. Also, with the help of special tools it was possible to measure skin conductance, an important factor which changes depending on the levels of moisture of the skin. In addition to that, the women were asked to report possible changes in their health condition, psychological and mental condition during the experiment. In particular, they were also asked to pay attention to the symptoms like menopausal hot flashes and others. After completing the 15-days study and analyzing personal reports of the participants, the researchers found out that every woman noticed reduction in menopausal hot flash symptoms during 24 hours after doing physical exercises. Comparing the data with the information on hot flash symptoms of the women participating in the other study involving no physical activities, it became apparent that exercising really plays an important role in menopausal hot flashes reduction.
In addition to the above, the scientists found out that those of the participants who were overweight or had too low levels of physical fitness have reported about the lowest reduction of menopausal hot flashes meaning that regular physical activities during perimenopausal and menopausal periods can be the most effective as hot flashes treatment if a woman leads an active lifestyle during her whole life. According to Steriani Elavsky, a study leader, women in per-menopausal period should never avoid physical activities thinking that exercising can make the symptoms even worse. “In fact, physical activity may be helpful, and is certainly the best way to maximize health as women age. Becoming and staying active on a regular basis as part of your lifestyle is the best way to ensure healthy aging and well being, regardless of whether you experience hot flashes or not,” the expert said. The scientist underlined that more research is necessary to study the effects of exercise as possible hot flashes treatment option. But for now, those who need more information about the study and the findings of American specialists on menopausal hot flashes can check out this report.
Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.