Alternative therapies may offer hot flash relief

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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MIAMI, Fla. - When a hot flash hits, some women would do just about anything to cool down.  For women on want relief, but are worried about the risks of hormone replacement therapy, may benefit from alternative therapies.

There's a newly approved drug by the Food and Drug Administration that promises women relief from hot flashes with little to no risk.  The drug is called Duavee and it combines conjugated estrogen with an estrogen receptor modulator to block the potentially harmful effects of estrogen.

But at Florida Natural Healthcare in South Florida,  Naturopath and Acupuncture Physician Aaron Chadwick thinks women should proceed with caution.

"Yeah, you're gonna get an effect, but it's just that the long term effect is what I'm concerned with," he said.

So what about over the counter treatments for hot flashes? A product called i-cool contains a non-soy genistein that showed benefit in a double blind study conducted by the manufacturer. After 12 weeks, the women taking i-cool had a reported 51 percent reduction in hot flashes and night sweats.

"I think it could work, I think it could work because if you look at the structure of it, the molecule of it, it mimics estrogen, right, so you're going to get an effect," said Chadwick.

Vitamin giant Nature Made is currently surveying the benefits of a product yet to hit the market, S-equol. Equol is the substance in soy that lowers the risk of breast cancer and hot flashes, but whether this is a solution remains to be seen.

When it comes to safety and efficacy, Chadwick says acupuncture remains a non-systemic, safe alternative.

"It's not going into the body, right, so we don't have to worry about any negative side effects from it. That's a great thing. And acupuncture works on the nervous system," he added.

A double blind study in Turkey found acupuncture treatments twice a week for 10 weeks significantly lowered hot flashes, but the study group was small. Researchers say acupuncture may release endorphins that may stabilize the body's temperature control system.

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