According to a new clinical trial, it has been suggested that practicing yoga might not ease menopausal hot flashes. However, it could possibly help women to sleep much easier. As of now, hormone therapy is still considered to be the most effective treatment for the hot flashes and night sweats that many women develop as they go through menopause. The downside of this is that hormones have been linked to certain risks such as blood clots and heart attack. Hence, many women are seeking out alternatives.
There are a few small studies that suggest yoga could reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes by calming down the nervous system activity. However, this was apparently not the case in this latest trial, which randomly selected 249 women to either take up gentle yoga classes for 12 weeks or stick with their usual activities. By the end of the study, those women in the yoga group were discovered to have better sleep compared to those in the other group.
“For the time being, there seems to be little sound evidence that yoga is helpful for hot flashes. However, we did find yoga to be modestly helpful for insomnia. If insomnia is bothering a woman, this style of gentle yoga, practiced regularly, may be of benefit,” stated lead researcher Katherine Newton, of the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle. She also noted that sleep problems are one of the main reasons that women seek out treatments when they go through menopause.
Another researcher, who was not part of the study, did comment that it still might be too soon to write yoga off as a hot flash remedy. “It’s a practice. You have to learn the poses, get comfortable with them, and then integrate these practices into your daily life. So it’s possible that women need longer than 12 weeks of yoga to see benefits for their hot flashes. Medications would be expected to work in that timeframe, but a lifestyle change “may not have the quick effect that a drug does. Women who are already doing yoga should not stop because of this study,” said Nancy Woods, a professor at the University of Washington School of Nursing who studies menopause symptoms. She went on to add that yoga still has other benefits for women such as reduced stress, better sleep and the general health benefits of physical exercises. For more of the story, you can read it here.