Navigation Links
Meditation May Help Women Cope With Hot Flashes

By Ellin Holohan
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- An easy-to-learn meditation technique can help ease the hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia of menopause, a new study says.

The University of Massachusetts research showed that mindfulness training, based on a Buddhist meditation concept, reduced the distress associated with hot flashes and improved physical, psychosocial and sexual functioning.

"The findings are important because hormone replacement therapy, used to treat menopause symptoms in the past, has been associated with health risks," said study author James Carmody, an associate professor of medicine in the division of preventive and behavioral medicine.

About 40 percent of menopausal women suffer from hot flashes and night sweats, which undermine their quality of life, the researchers noted. But since hormone replacement therapy has been linked with an increased risk of heart disease, breast cancer and stroke, Carmody observed that "not only are women looking for alternative treatments, it is an NIH (National Institutes of Health) priority to find behavioral treatments."

No other treatment has been found to substitute for hormone therapy, according to the study, but mindfulness training appears to allow women to be "less reactive" to menopausal symptoms.

Mindfulness therapy helps focus on the present. Practitioners avoid making judgments and simply accept whatever is passing through their mind while focusing on each breath. The technique is not difficult to learn, but requires some discipline in the beginning, experts noted.

The researchers aimed to influence women's reaction to their symptoms, "including psychological distress, social embarrassment and anxiety."

"We wanted to see if we could affect women's resilience in response to these symptoms," Carmody explained. "We were not trying to affect the symptoms themselves, although there was some effect on those as well."

The study divided 110 women between the ages of 47 and 69 into two groups, one receiving the training, the other "waitlisted" to learn the technique.

Participants filled out questionnaires to determine factors known to influence hot flashes, such as alcohol use, yoga and exercise.

Researchers also measured four dimensions of quality of life: physical, psychosocial, vasomotor (hot flashes), and sexual function. The women rated how much they were bothered by symptoms on a four-point scale ranging from "not at all" to "extremely" bothered. They kept diaries noting the number and intensity of hot flashes and night sweats. On average, the women had five or more moderate to severe hot flashes, or night sweats, a day when the study began.

After taking classes once a week for eight weeks, and a full day of training, the training group women had an average decrease of 15 percent in how much their symptoms bothered them vs. 7 percent for the control group. While hot flash intensity did not differ significantly, the training group reported better sleep, and less anxiety and perceived stress.

At the beginning of the study, which ran from November 2005 to September 2007, participants had "clinically significant" sleep problems. Improved sleep was an important outcome, the study found.

"The thing that surprised us the most was the effect on sleep," said Carmody, noting that mindfulness training was found to be as effective as hormone replacement therapy in reducing insomnia.

Another expert praised the study for using the "mind-body connection" to help women with serious menopause symptoms with "no side effects."

"We've known about the mind-body connection," said Dr. Jill M. Rabin. "We're just beginning to unlock the power of the mind to have an impact on our physiological selves."

The study authors were "self-critical regarding the limitations of the study," said Rabin, chief of the division of ambulatory care and head of urogynecology at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Among other things, the study lacked an active control group program, they wrote.

Noting that the women were mostly white and had a high level of education, Rabin said more study was needed to see if the results apply to the general population.

"It's not that the results don't apply, or will be different for a different population," she said. "We just don't know."

The research is published in the June issue of Menopause.

More information

To learn more about mindfulness training, visit University of Massachusetts Medical School.

SOURCES: James Carmody, Ph.D., associate professor, medicine, division of preventive and behavioral medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester; Jill M. Rabin, M.D. chief, Division of Ambulatory Care, head, Urogynecology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, North Shore-LIJ Health System; June 2011 issue, Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Doctors Prescribing Meditation, Yoga More Often
2. Mindful Meditation Might Ease Irritable Bowel Syndrome
3. Meditation May Help Brain Block Out Distractions
4. Meditation may help the brain turn down the volume on distractions
5. Meditation Appears to Cause Changes in Brains Gray Matter
6. Mindfulness meditation training changes brain structure in 8 weeks
7. Zen Meditation Can Help Bring Pain Under Control
8. Positive psychological changes from meditation training linked to cellular health
9. Meditation Soothes MS Patients
10. Meditation reduces the emotional impact of pain
11. Guided Meditation Made Available to Everyone for Stress Awareness Month
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Meditation May Help Women Cope With Hot Flashes
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... The workstation boundaries for ... IMAGE Information Systems launches MED-TAB™ -- the world’s first portable DICOM-calibrated medical image ... 29 to December 4, 2015. , MED-TAB is expected to change teleradiology ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... , ... The importance of volumetric breast density assessment for ... abstracts accepted for presentation here, at the 101st Annual Radiology Society of North ... of Volpara Solutions’ quantitative breast imaging software tools for providing breast imaging and ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... For ... That is why Hollister Incorporated has launched the VaPro Plus Pocket™ touch free ... in the VaPro touch free catheter portfolio,” said Michael Gresavage, Vice President North ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (December 1, ... organization has awarded Education and Developmental Therapies (EDT), an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) ... exceptional special needs providers that excel in synthesizing the areas of clinical quality, ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... McLean, ... been awarded a fixed price per sprint agile development contract to support the ... million over five years, provides software engineering, infrastructure, as well as operations and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... During the recent 2015 Transcatheter Cardiovascular ... CA , Medinol Ltd. continued to introduce ... a satellite symposium, "The BioNIR eDES: The Role ... a renowned physician panel discussed the key attributes ... Stent System and the Medinol eDES Coronary Stent ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... YORK , Dec. 1, 2015 Relmada Therapeutics, ... the treatment of chronic pain, announced today that the company ... will be held December 1-3 at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard ... Sergio Traversa , CEO of Relmada Therapeutics, will present on ... Eastern Time). . Please register at least ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Dec. 1, 2015  InCarda Therapeutics, Inc. (InCarda), a ... of therapies for cardiovascular conditions via the inhalation route, ... in Australia . InCarda is planning ... Australia in the first half of ... medical centers in Adelaide and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: