Weight loss reduces hot flushes

September 1, 2010

Among menopausal women who are overweight or obese, an intensive diet and exercise program can significantly reduce the incidence and severity of hot flushes, according to a trial.

Among menopausal women who are overweight or obese, an intensive diet and exercise program can significantly reduce the incidence and severity of hot flushes, according to a randomized, controlled trial led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

The researchers used self-administered questionnaires to assess the hot flushes of 338 women who participated in either a 6-month intensive behavioral weight loss program (intervention) or a structured health education program (control).

Researchers found that for women who were at least slightly bothered by hot flushes at baseline, the intervention was more than twice as likely as the control to improve hot flushes by 1 Likert category (odds ratio [OR], 2.25; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.20-4.21).

Reductions in weight (OR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.08-1.61 per 5-kg decrease), body mass index (OR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.05-1.30 per 1-point decrease), and abdominal circumference (OR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.07-1.64 per 5-cm decrease) were similarly associated with improvement in flushing.

Changes in physical activity, calorie intake, blood pressure, and physical and mental functioning did not seem to make a difference in the incidence or severity of hot flushes, however.

Huang AJ, Subak LL, Wing R, et al. An intensive behavioral weight loss intervention and hot flushes in women. Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(13):1161-1167.