Clinical trials have recently discovered that acupuncture can be used as an alternative treatment to treat hot flashes in women that have breast cancer. Normally hormone replacement therapy is used to deal with hot flashes, but this treatment is not possible for all. Other drugs, such as Effexor, have been used to treat hot flashes, but there are many side effects to taking this type of medication.
Acupuncture uses needles inserted into specific points in the body. It is used to relieve pain, treat diseases, infertility and promote health. This is a traditional Chinese medicine developed before the field of modern biology was discovered. While acupuncture uses human anatomy. Therefore acupuncture is not based on anatomy but instead of energy meridians in the body.
The intensity of hot flashes can vary depending on the women. Some can be quite slight while others can be debilitating, preventing sleep and the ability to function. The most effective treatment of hot flashes is hormone therapy, with a 75 percent decrease in the frequency of experiencing hot flashes. However not everyone can take progesterone and estrogens, the two hormones used in hormone therapy. Long term usage of these hormones has been found to increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Therefore many women would prefer not taking hormones.
Antihypertensive medicines, anti-seizure drugs and antidepressants have also been found to have positive results in decreasing hot flashes. However these can also have very significant side effects, such as nausea, insomnia, dizziness, nervousness, impotence, anorexia, vomiting, memory loss and suicide. Many women do not want to take a drug with so many side effects, of which the reduction of hot flashes is only one of things that the drug is used for treatment. If you are not suffering from depression, why would you want to take an antidepression drug?
The use of acupuncture has found to be just as effective as taking these medications, without the side effects. However of the many studies and trails conducted on acupuncture the results are conflicting. Some studies show benefits, while other that compare acupuncture to sham acupuncture show no difference. Sham acupuncture refers to sticking needles into areas not associated with energy points. With so many conflicting results most studies simply make the comment that more study is needed into no traditional forms of medicine. It is important to note that most of these studies have less than 100 participants. Doctors may need to look to a larger scale to determine if acupuncture is more effective. There is not research that shows that acupuncture is more effective than hormone replacement therapy.
The risk involved with acupuncture is very low if you see a professional that is a trained acupuncturist. If you are not experience any relief from traditional forms of hot flash treatment, then give acupuncture a try. Acupuncture has been found to decrease hot flashes in post-menopausal women, women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer. Be aware that scientific results were inconclusive, though individuals in the study though the hot flashes were less intense and less frequent.
While there have only been three clinical trials that investigate acupuncture and hot flashes due to breast cancer, there has been much done on hot flashes in post menopausal women. The cause of these hot flashes is the same; therefore acupuncture should be just as effective for women with breast cancer as post menopausal women. Weekly acupuncture was found to decrease the severity of hot flashes in post menopausal women. On a scale form one to 10, hot flashes that were characterized as a 10, dropped to a severity of three after acupuncture was used.
Therefore if you have breast cancer and want to decrease the severity and frequency of hot flashes without relying on medication. Give acupuncture a try. You may experience excellent results, and even if you do not then you will not have to deal with the side effects that occur from medication.