In this paper, the researchers looked at the efficacy of acupuncture on hot flashes and menopause symptoms, such as joint pain, sleeping disorder, depression, and nervous system-related symptoms such as paresthesia and tingling, in women with breast cancer. Many breast cancer patients suffer from hot flashes and menopause as side effects of conventional treatment, and some of them undergo acupuncture to relieve these symptoms instead of hormone replacement therapy.
To test the efficacy of acupuncture, researchers at the National Yang-Ming University and the National Cheng Kung University looked at 13 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that investigated the effects of needle acupuncture on hot flash and menopause symptoms in women with breast cancer. These trials included a total of 844 women with breast cancer with an average age of 58.
Based on the results of the analysis, while acupuncture did little to improve the frequency and the severity of hot flashes, it did significantly reduce menopause symptoms. (Related: Acupuncture helps alleviate menopausal symptoms.)
From these findings, the research team concluded that acupuncture can be used as a safe and effective treatment for reducing menopause symptoms in women with breast cancer. They also suggested that it could be used as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy, which has side effects.
During menopause, women's estrogen levels decline. Because of this, women experience menopausal symptoms, and some opt for hormone replacement therapy to improve these symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs containing female hormones to replace the ones that the body no longer produces after menopause.
Apparently, there are risks that come with undergoing hormone therapy. Its side effects vary depending on the hormones used. The main side effects of taking estrogen include bloating, headaches, indigestion, leg cramps, nausea, swelling of the breast, swelling in other parts of the body, and vaginal bleeding. The side effects of taking progestin, a drug in menopause hormone therapy, include abdominal pain, acne, back pain, breast tenderness, depression, headaches or migraines, mood swings, swelling, and vaginal bleeding.
In some cases, a combination of estrogen and progestin is used, which has more risks. Research has shown that taking an estrogen-progestin pill increases the risk of serious illnesses, such as blood clotting, heart disease, and stroke. Hormone therapy also increases the risk of certain forms of cancer, such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial or womb cancer.
Here are other women's health issues that acupuncture can help treat:
Read more news stories and studies on how acupuncture helps in women's health issues by going to WomensHealth.news.