Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Heating Up

Are you too hot?

Hot flashes, a common term for a sudden wave of heat usually partnered with sweating, can be extremely uncomfortable for women, who can experience them during peri-menopause and up to five or more years after menopause. However, a new study has shown that losing weight can reduce the number and severity of hot flashes.

The study, conducted at University of California, San Francisco, took 150 overweight menopausal women who experienced hot flashes. One hundred of the women were enrolled in a demanding weight loss program. The program was designed to help the women lose 9 percent of their body fat.

At the end of 6 weeks, those who participated in the program were twice as likely as the women in the control group to experience improvement in hot flashes.

Dee-Dee Shiller, D.O., gynecologist and the director at the Women's Wellness Center at Northwest Hospital says that although the study represents good news, regular exercise in itself will reduce symptomatic hot flashes for many women.

Other ways to alleviate hot flashes are to reduce stress through meditation and relaxation and avoid caffeine, says Dr. Shiller.

Hot flashes are not only irritating; they can be related to increase in depression, anxiety and insomnia, and you should see your doctor if you experience these effects of hot flashes. However, its nice to know that relief might be as simple as regular exercise, stress reduction and weight loss if your BMI is 25 or higher.
-Holly Hosler

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