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Wyon Y.; Lindgren, R.; Lundeberg, T.; Hammar, M.
Menopause: 1995
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Most perimenopausal women suffer from vasomotor symptoms. Changes in central opioid activity have been proposed to be involved in the mechanisms of hot flushes after menopause. Because acupuncture increases central opioid activity, it may affect postmenopausal hot flushes. The aim was to study if and to what extent two different kinds of acupuncture affected postmenopausal hot flushes, urinary excretion of certain neuropeptides, and quality of life in a group of postmenopausal women. Twenty-four women with natural menopause and hot flushes were included. Twenty-one women completed the study. One group was randomized to electroacupuncture at 2 Hz, whereas the other group was treated with another form of acupuncture (i.e., superficial needle insertion) for a total of 8 weeks. All women daily registered the number and severity of flushes from 1 month before to 3 months after treatment. They completed Quality of Life questionnaires before, during, and after treatment. Twenty-four-hour urine was sampled before, during, and after treatment and analyzed for neuropeptides using radioimmunoassay methods. The number of flushes decreased significantly by >50% in both groups and remained decreased in the group receiving electroacupuncture, whereas in the superficial-needle-insertion group, the number of flushes increased again during the 3 months after treatment. The Kupperman Index decreased significantly in both groups during and after treatment. The excretion of the potent vasodilating neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide-like immunoreactivity decreased significantly during treatment. Acupuncture significantly affects hot flushes and sweating episodes after menopause, with effects persisting at least 3 months after the end of treatment. Changes in calcitonin gene-related peptide, which is a very potent vasodilator, could be involved in the mechanisms behind hot flushes.

©1995The North American Menopause Society