Hot flushes affect up to 75% of women around the time of menopause. While many women's symptoms are mild, some can suffer disturbed sleep and lowered mood, often for years. Women at mid-life are also Australia's most avid users of complementary medicine, such as herbal remedies and acupuncture, and are increasingly interested in whether such treatments might relieve their menopausal symptoms.
Jean Hailes for Women's Health, The University of Melbourne, RMIT University and Southern Cross University are now collaborating to put acupuncture to the test in 360 women with hot flushes across the country. Some participants will receive genuine acupuncture, some a fake treatment to test for the 'placebo effect'.
"We think acupuncture may help increase natural painkilling substances in the body and these seem to work on reducing hot flushes," says study coordinator Dr Carolyn Ee, who is a GP and acupuncturist at the University of Melbourne. "In my consultations… some women were happy to try acupuncture to help manage hot flushes, and I found some interesting results with those women, so I felt this area needed to be looked into further. There have been smaller studies and they suggest acupuncture is effective in helping to manage hot flushes, but this will be a large study that will shed a lot more light on the area."
The Acupause trial is now recruiting women who are over 40, at least 12 months past their last menstrual period, have not had acupuncture in the past two years, have not had a hysterectomy or removal of ovaries, and are not currently on hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Volunteers will attend ten acupuncture sessions over eight weeks at any of 15 locations in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. For a full list of locations, and to register your interest, visit www.acupause.com or phone (03) 9035 5018.
Published with the permission of the Jean Hailes Foundation for Women's Health
Tollfree number 1800 151 441 for women seeking further health information www.JeanHailes.org.au