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Pilot study of integral yoga for menopausal hot flashes

Avis, Nancy E. PhD1; Legault, Claudine PhD2; Russell, Gregory MS2; Weaver, Kathryn PhD1; Danhauer, Suzanne C. PhD1

doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000191
Original Articles

Objective: This study aims to obtain preliminary data on the efficacy of yoga for reducing self-reported menopausal hot flashes in a randomized study including an attention control group.

Methods: We randomized 54 late perimenopausal women (2-12 mo of amenorrhea) and postmenopausal women (>12 mo of amenorrhea)—aged 45 to 58 years and who experienced at least four hot flashes per day, on average, for at least 4 weeks—to one of three groups: yoga, health and wellness education (HW), and wait list (WL). Yoga and HW classes consisted of weekly 90-minute classes for 10 weeks. All women completed daily hot flash diaries throughout the trial (10 wk) to track the frequency and severity of hot flashes. The mean hot flash index score is based on the number of mild, moderate, severe, and very severe hot flashes.

Results: Hot flash frequency declined significantly across time for all three groups, with the strongest decline occurring during the first week. There was no overall significant difference in hot flash frequency decrease over time by treatment groups, but the yoga and HW groups followed similar patterns and showed greater decreases than the WL group. On week 10, women in the yoga group reported an approximately 66% decrease in hot flash frequency, women in the HW group reported a 63% decrease, and women in the WL group reported a 36% decrease. The hot flash index showed a similar pattern.

Conclusions: Results suggest that yoga can serve as a behavioral option for reducing hot flashes but may not offer any advantage over other types of interventions.

From the Departments of 1Social Sciences and Health Policy and 2Biostatistical Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC.

Received October 3, 2013; revised and accepted November 19, 2013.

Funding/support: This research was supported by grant R21AT004234 from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

Clinical trial registration: ClincalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01073397.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Nancy E. Avis, PhD, Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157. E-mail: navis@wakehealth.edu

© 2014 by The North American Menopause Society.