Exercise found to be a natural treatment for menopause hot flashes in women

Physical exercise

By pH health care professionals

Women going through menopause often bemoan the infamous hot flashes, also sometimes referred to as hot flushes, that accompany this time of transition. Hot flashes are described as a sudden feeling of heat spreading through the body, most often concentrated on the face, neck and chest. Blood rushes to the skin, sometimes causing a flushed appearance thanks to dilating blood vessels. This is accompanied by sweating and reduced brain blood flow, too. Hot flashes are likely the result of the body’s drop off in estrogen, which affects the body’s temperature control.

Looking to beat the heat, researchers turned to good old fashioned exercise to see if cardio could help the body regulate its temperature better. Exercise improves the body’s control of sweating and blood flow, so it would make sense that it could help with hot flashes.

They took 21 women with hot flashes and had them complete a seven-day questionnaire, as well as some testing, like to see how fit their heart and lungs were. They measured the women’s sweat rates, skin blood flow temperatures and brain blood flow. After the women completed 16 weeks of supervised exercise training, they measured again.

What’d they find?

Women who improved their cardiorespiratory (heart and lung) fitness did indeed improve the frequency and severity of their hot flashes. When they did have hot flashes, they didn’t sweat as much and their stronger blood vessels didn’t dilate as much.

This isn’t the first study to tackle the subject of exercise and menopause, but it adds to the library of research that gives it a thumbs up, pointing to exercise as a natural treatment for menopause symptoms.

Exercise can help other menopause symptoms too

Prior studies have also shown that aerobic exercise can reduce night sweats, as well as other menopausal symptoms like mood swings and irritability. Exercise also may help with insomnia and depression.

Not sure if you’re ready to go from couch to treadmill? No problem; you may find some of your symptoms could improve with regular yoga practice!

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here. 

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