Yoga fails to cool hot flashes, but may aid sleep - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Yoga fails to cool hot flashes, but may aid sleep

Updated: Oct 10, 2013 02:22 PM
© iStockphoto.com / Stephan Zabel © iStockphoto.com / Stephan Zabel
  • HealthMore>>

  • A little wine might help kidneys stay healthy

    A little wine might help kidneys stay healthy

    An occasional glass of wine might help keep your kidneys healthy, new research suggests.
    An occasional glass of wine might help keep your kidneys healthy, new research suggests.
  • People seek out health info when famous person dies

    People seek out health info when famous person dies

    WEDNESDAY, April 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The deaths of well-known people offer an opportunity to educate the general public about disease detection and prevention, a new study suggests. Researchers surveyed 1,400 American men and women after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in 2011 and learned that more than one-third of them sought information about his cause of death or information about cancer in general soon after his death was reported. About 7 percent of th...
    WEDNESDAY, April 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The deaths of well-known people offer an opportunity to educate the general public about disease detection and prevention, a new study suggests. Researchers surveyed 1,400 American men and women after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in 2011 and learned that more than one-third of them sought information about his cause of death or information about cancer in general soon after his death was reported. About 7 percent of th...
  • Mental illness not a driving force behind crime

    Mental illness not a driving force behind crime

    TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Less than 10 percent of crimes committed by mentally ill people are directly linked to the symptoms of their disorders, a new study shows. "When we hear about crimes committed by people with mental illness, they tend to be big headline-making crimes, so they get stuck in people's heads," said study author Jillian Peterson, a psychology professor at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn. "The vast majority of people with mental illness a...
    TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Less than 10 percent of crimes committed by mentally ill people are directly linked to the symptoms of their disorders, a new study shows. "When we hear about crimes committed by people with mental illness, they tend to be big headline-making crimes, so they get stuck in people's heads," said study author Jillian Peterson, a psychology professor at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn. "The vast majority of people with mental illness a...

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Practicing yoga may not ease menopausal hot flashes, but it might help women sleep a bit easier, a new clinical trial suggests.

Right now, hormone therapy is the most effective treatment for the hot flashes and night sweats many women develop as they go through menopause. But hormones have been linked to risks like blood clots and heart attack, so many women want alternatives.

Some small studies have suggested that yoga can reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes -- possibly by calming nervous system activity. But that was not the case in this latest trial, which randomly assigned 249 women to either take gentle yoga classes for 12 weeks, or stick with their usual activities.

By the study's end, women in the yoga group were having fewer hot flashes each day -- but so were those in the comparison group.

On the other hand, the yoga practitioners did seem to be sleeping better.

"For the time being, there seems to be little sound evidence that yoga is helpful for hot flashes," said lead researcher Katherine Newton, of the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle.

"However, we did find yoga to be modestly helpful for insomnia," Newton added. That's important, she noted, because sleep problems are one of the most common reasons that women seek some kind of treatment as they go through menopause.

"If insomnia is bothering a woman," Newton said, "this style of gentle yoga, practiced regularly, may be of benefit."

The study was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and recently published online in the journal Menopause.

It may be too soon to write off yoga as a hot flash remedy, according to another researcher not involved in the study.

Yoga should be seen as a lifestyle change, and it takes time for people to work it into their lives, noted Nancy Woods, a professor at the University of Washington School of Nursing who studies menopause symptoms.

"It's a practice," she said. "You have to learn the poses, get comfortable with them, and then integrate these practices into your daily life."

So it's possible that women need longer than 12 weeks of yoga to see benefits for their hot flashes, according to Woods. Medications would be expected to work in that timeframe, she said, but a lifestyle change "may not have the quick effect that a drug does."

"Women who are already doing yoga should not stop because of this study," Woods added.

And if women with menopause symptoms are interested in starting yoga, she added, it's worth a try. Even if it doesn't cool their hot flashes, Woods noted, there could be other gains, like reduced stress, better sleep and the health benefits of physical exercise.

The findings are based on 249 women who were suffering seven to eight hot flashes per day, on average; 107 were randomly assigned to take up yoga, while the rest stuck with their normal daily routines.

Women in the yoga group took 12 weekly classes that included gentle yoga poses, breathing exercises, meditation and relaxation. They were also given a DVD and yoga props to use at home.

After 12 weeks, the women were having fewer hot flashes -- less than five per day, on average. But women in the comparison group reported a similar change. The only difference between the groups was in insomnia symptoms, which improved to a greater degree in the yoga group.

Woods said that women who feel they need a quick remedy for their hot flashes might want to talk to their doctor about hormone therapy. But if they're interested in a lifestyle change, yoga could be part of that.

"There's no right or wrong answer," Woods said.

But both she and Newton said that, as with any type of exercise, women should check with their health provider before starting a new routine. There are also many different styles of yoga, some of which are vigorous and may not be appropriate for everyone.

So before you jump into a yoga class, it's a good idea, according to Woods, to talk to someone at the center about the style taught there.

You'll also have to foot the bill. Yoga class prices vary, but typically range between $10 and $20.

More information

The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has more on alternative therapies for menopause symptoms.

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow

310 Broadway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

FCC Public File
publicfile@kfvs12.com
573-335-1212
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KFVS12. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.