Acupuncture may offer women an alternative for easing hot flashes during menopause, preliminary research suggests.
In a study of 29 women with frequent, daily hot flashes, researchers found that those who received acupuncture began to have fewer and less severe symptoms during the night.
As nighttime hot flashes improved, so did the quality of the women's sleep, the researchers report in the journal Fertility & Sterility.
Recent medical research has found that acupuncture may work by altering signals among nerve cells or by affecting the release of various chemicals of the central nervous system. There's also some evidence that acupuncture affects hormones related to both sleep and menopause.
By the end of treatment, women who'd been getting the real acupuncture sessions reported a greater reduction in the severity of their nighttime hot flashes than those in the comparison group.
Both groups said their hot flashes had become less frequent, the researchers found, and as hot flash symptoms improved, so did the women's sleep quality.