The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of participation in a mindfulness
training program (mindfulness
-based stress reduction, [MBSR]) on the degree of bother from hot flashes
and night sweats.
This study was a randomized trial of 110 late perimenopausal and early postmenopausal women experiencing an average of 5 or more moderate or severe hot flashes
(including night sweats)/day. A wait-list control (WLC) was used with 3-month postintervention follow-up. The main outcome was the degree of bother from hot flashes
and night sweats in the previous 24 hours. Secondary measures were hot flash intensity, quality of life
, insomnia, anxiety, and perceived stress
Baseline average (SD) hot flash frequency was 7.87 (3.44) and 2.81 (1.76) night sweats/day. Mean (SD) bothersomeness score was 3.18 (0.55; "moderately bothered/extremely bothered"). All analyses were intention to treat and were controlled for baseline values. Within-woman changes in bother from hot flashes
differed significantly by treatment arm (week × treatment arm interaction, P
= 0.042). At completion of the intervention, bother in the MBSR arm decreased on average by 14.77% versus 6.79% for WLC. At 20 weeks, total reduction in bother for MBSR was 21.62% and 10.50% for WLC. Baseline-adjusted changes in hot flash intensity did not differ between treatment arms (week × treatment arm interaction, P
= 0.692). The MBSR arm made clinically significant improvements in quality of life
= 0.022), subjective sleep
= 0.009), anxiety (P
= 0.005), and perceived stress
= 0.001). Improvements were maintained 3 months postintervention.
Our data suggest that MBSR may be a clinically significant resource in reducing the degree of bother and distress women experience from hot flashes
and night sweats.