Mindfulness Program Helps Reduce Bother of Hot Flashes

After stress-reduction program, women are significantly less bothered by hot flashes

FRIDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- A mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program may help reduce the bother caused by hot flashes in peri- and early postmenopausal women, according to a study published in the June issue of Menopause.

James Francis Carmody, Ph.D., from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, and colleagues analyzed the effects of MBSR on bother from hot flashes and night sweats in 110 late perimenopausal and early postmenopausal women experiencing five or more moderate to severe hot flashes (including night sweats) per day on average. Women were randomly assigned to MBSR or to a wait-list control (WLC) group and were followed up for three months post intervention. Degree of bother from hot flashes and night sweats in the previous 24 hours was the main outcome measured. Hot flash intensity, quality of life, insomnia, anxiety, and perceived stress were also assessed.

The investigators found that within-woman variation in the degree of bother from hot flashes differed significantly in the two treatment groups. After the intervention, bother in the MBSR group decreased on average by 14.77 percent compared to 6.79 percent in the WLC group. Total reduction in bother at 20 weeks was 21.62 percent for women in the MBSR group and 10.50 percent for the WLC group. Baseline-adjusted hot flash intensity was not significantly different in the two treatment groups. Clinically significant improvements were seen for quality of life, subjective sleep quality, anxiety, and perceived stress in the MBSR group, and these were maintained for three months post intervention.

"MBSR may be a clinically significant resource for reducing the degree of bother women experience from hot flashes and night sweats," the authors write.

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