Acupuncture not only helps reduce hot flashes, but also improves sex drive of breast cancer patients, a new study has found.
The Henry Ford Hospital study revealed that acupuncture, when compared to drug therapy, has a longer-lasting effect on the reduction of hot flashes and night sweats for women receiving hormone therapy for breast cancer treatment.
Women also report that acupuncture improves their energy and clarity of thought, and improve their sense of well-being.
"Acupuncture offers patients a safe, effective and durable treatment option for hot flashes, something that affects the majority of breast cancer survivors. Compared to drug therapy, acupuncture actually has benefits, as opposed to more side effects," said study lead author Eleanor Walker, M.D., division director of breast services in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Henry Ford Hospital.
During the study, Walker and her research team recruited 50 patients tested the use of acupuncture to combat vasomotor symptoms in breast cancer patients as an alternative to drug therapy.
The patients were randomly assigned to receive either acupuncture or venlafaxine treatment for 12 weeks.
At the end of 12 weeks, all patients stopped their therapy and were followed for one year.
The study found that both groups initially experienced a 50 percent decline in hot flashes and depressive symptoms, indicating that acupuncture is as effective as drug therapy.
However, the acupuncture group continued to experience minimal hot flashes, while the drug therapy group had a significant increase in hot flashes.
The acupuncture group did not experience an increase in the frequency of their hot flashes until three months post-treatment.
The study is published online in the Journal of Oncology.