Acupuncture can reduce menopause vasomotor symptoms in half of the treated women


Menopause vasomotor symptoms (VMS) include night sweats, hot flashes, and flushes. How to treat these symptoms is important for women’s health.

In a recent study, researchers find that acupuncture can reduce VMS for half of the treated women. The finding is published in Menopause.

Researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center conducted the study. They examined responses to acupuncture treatment for menopause vasomotor symptoms and the characteristics of women with different responses.

A total 209 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women aged 45 to 60 years were recruited. Each of them experienced at least 4 VMS per day.

Half participants received up to 20 acupuncture treatments within 6 months, and the other half were assigned to a waitlist control group. Researchers measured percent change of the daily menopause vasomotor symptoms frequency.

Analyses revealed 4 distinct trajectories of change in VMS frequency by week 8 in the acupuncture group.

A small group of women (11.6%) had an 85% reduction in VMS. The largest group (47%) reported a 47% reduction in VMS frequency. In addition, 37.3% of the sample showed only a 9.6% reduction in VMS frequency, and a very small group (4.1%) had a 100% increase in VMS.

Among women in the waitlist control group, 79.5% reported a 10% decrease in VMS frequency at week 8.

The number of acupuncture treatments in the first 8 weeks and traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis were significantly related to the treatment effects in the acupuncture group.

Researchers suggest that approximately half of the treated women report a decline in menopause vasomotor symptoms frequency. In the future, researchers need to identify clear predictors of clinical response to acupuncture treatment of menopause vasomotor symptoms.

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Citation: Avis NE, et al. (2016). Trajectories of response to acupuncture for menopausal vasomotor symptoms. Menopause, published online 1. DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000735.
Figure legend: This image is for illustrative purposes only.