A new study says that an intensive weight loss intervention program could bring improvements in bothersome hot flushes during menopause among overweight and obese women.
Alison J. Huang, M.D., from the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues in a six-month randomized controlled trial, used self-administered questionnaires to assess bothersome hot flushes.
"Hot flushes are among the most common concerns of women during menopause and persist for five or more years past menopause in as many as one-third of women," wrote the authors as background to the article.
"In multiple observational studies, women with a higher body mass index (BMI; calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) have reported more frequent or severe hot flushes compared with women with a lower BMI," they added.
The authors studied 338 women (average age 53) who were overweight or obese and had urinary incontinence.
Compared to the control individuals, women randomized to the intervention group reported slightly greater physical activity at baseline but the two study groups did not differ significantly with regard to other characteristics, including flushing.
According to the authors, in analyses of all women reporting bothersome hot flushes at the initial stages, decreases in weight, BMI and abdominal circumference were each associated with improvement in self-reported hot flushes during six months.
However, there were no significant associations between changes in physical activity, calorie intake, blood pressure or overall self-reported physical and mental functioning and change in bothersome flushing.
Additionally, "among women who were at least slightly bothered by flushing at baseline, the intensive lifestyle intervention was associated with significantly greater decreases in weight, body mass index, abdominal circumference and systolic and diastolic blood pressure relative to the control group," wrote the authors.
"No statistically significant effect of the intervention on self-reported physical activity, total calorie intake or overall physical or mental functioning was observed."
"Our findings indicate that women who are overweight or obese and experience bothersome hot flushes may also experience improvement in these symptoms after pursuing behavioral weight loss strategies; however, improvements in weight or body composition may not be the only mediators of this effect," concluded the authors.
The study is published in the latest issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.