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Acupuncture Curbs Severity of Menopausal Hot Flushes, Study Suggests

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Richard D Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-08-11 09:01 AM
Original message
Acupuncture Curbs Severity of Menopausal Hot Flushes, Study Suggests
Traditional Chinese acupuncture curbs the severity of hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms, suggests a small study published March 8 in Acupuncture in Medicine.

The effects did not seem to be related to changes in levels of the hormones responsible for sparking the menopause and its associated symptoms, the study shows.
The authors base their findings on 53 middle aged women, all of whom were classified as being postmenopausal -- they had spontaneously stopped having periods for a year. Their somatic (hot flushes) urogenital (vaginal dryness and urinary tract infection) and psychological (mood swings) symptoms were measured using a five point scale (MRS).
Twenty seven of the women received traditional Chinese acupuncture twice a week for 10 weeks, with needles left in position for 20 minutes without any manual or electrical stimulation. The rest were given sham acupuncture.
snip

Estrogen levels also rose, while LH levels fell in the group treated with traditional Chinese acupuncture. Low levels of estrogen and high LH and FSH levels are characteristic of the menopause, as the ovaries start to fail.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/1103071846...
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SPedigrees Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-08-11 10:03 AM
Response to Original message
1. Why get stuck with needles
when taking replacement hormones achieves the same result?
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Richard D Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-08-11 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Needles are a lot safer.
Edited on Tue Mar-08-11 01:21 PM by Richard D
Especially if the effects are long term. Many people who practice and have received acupuncture find that over time things normalize for a long time, even without further intensive acupuncture. Usually, once things normalize, a treatment once every few months can be sufficient.
* * * * *

HRT risks and possible side effects include:

Increased risk of endometrial cancer in women with a uterus if estrogen is taken without progesterone or a progestin

Slightly increased risk of breast cancer after 4 or more years of HRT, as shown in the WHI study that used continuous combined oral estrogen and progestin (Prempro). Estrogen alone or other HRT regimens may not raise the risk of breast cancer significantly.

Increased breast density, making mammograms more difficult to interpret and possibly increasing breast cancer risk. This appears to be an effect primarily associated with taking oral progestin continuously with estrogen (e.g., Prempro).

Slightly increased risk of ovarian cancer

Slightly increased risk of blood clots, associated primarily with oral estrogens such as Premarin*

Increased risk of gallbladder disease, associated primarily with oral estrogens such as Premarin*

Slightly increased risk of heart attack or stroke, both in women with cardiovascular disease and in healthy women. This effect may be associated primarily with HRT using continuous combined oral estrogen and progestin (Prempro) or the daily use of an oral progestin such as Provera with estrogen.

Breast pain (often a temporary problem)

Nausea, associated primarily with oral estrogens*

Bloating and fluid retention, primarily associated with progestins, e.g., medroxyprogesterone acetate

Negative effects on mood, primarily associated with progestins, e.g., medroxyprogesterone acetate

*Note: These side effects seem to be associated with oral estrogen and not with transdermal estrogen.

Monthly vaginal bleeding often occurs when women take estrogen and progestin in a cyclical style (usually estrogen every day, but progestin only part of the month) rather than all the time. Spotting or bleeding may also occur when HRT is taken in the continuous combined style (both estrogen and progesterone or progestin every day). Problems with bleeding and spotting may improve over time or with a change in dose, regimen, or type of progestin/progesterone used. Women who do not want any bleeding at all may find these effects unacceptable.


http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/288/3/321.short
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SPedigrees Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-08-11 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. The WHI study was deeply flawed
Edited on Tue Mar-08-11 07:12 PM by SPedigrees
and the reported risks overblown. The benefits were understated and swept under the rug.
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-08-11 12:17 PM
Response to Original message
2. "The rest were given sham acupuncture." --- How do they tell the difference?
:rofl:
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Richard D Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-08-11 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Actually a good question
One that I don't think has been adequately studied. A needle anyplace on the body will tend to have an effect.
But for most studies, the "real" acupuncture treatment involves needles accurately placed in the properly chosen points according to established acupuncture theory. The sham acupuncture are needles placed either on points that are not associated with the treatment of a particular condition or on locations that are not considered acupuncture points - not necessarily an easy task to find as there are over 2000 points mapped out on the body, plus hosts of points that are not mapped out called "ashi" points. Ashi means something to the effect of "that's it". If you ever have a headache, neck ache, back ache, etc. and rub on the tender points that seem to give some (generally temporary) relief, those are "ashi" points.
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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-08-11 07:55 PM
Response to Original message
6. Such pilot studies are a dime a dozen.
Edited on Tue Mar-08-11 07:57 PM by HuckleB
From: http://www.reviveacupuncture.com/pdf/menopausal%20hot%2...

The bottom line appears to be: Pilot "studies of acupuncture and hot flashes have been conducted with mixed results."

That same study's conclusions:

A Randomized, Controlled Pilot Study of Acupuncture Treatment for Menopausal Hot Flashes

"These results suggest either that there is a strong placebo effect or that both traditional
and sham acupuncture significantly reduce hot flash frequency."


Another study with similar results:

Acupuncture for hot flashes: a randomized, sham-controlled clinical study.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17019380

"The results of this study suggest that the used medical acupuncture was not any more effective for reducing hot flashes than was the chosen sham acupuncture."


------------------------------------------


This piece also covers the issue quite well:

Acupuncture for Hot Flashes
http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=3314


And this is something that should always be considered, especially in regard to small pilot studies:

http://theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=8
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Celebration Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-08-11 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Certainly enough evidence to try it
Given that it is benign if done by a licensed practitioner, whereas taking hormones are associated with all sorts of risk.

Since there is some evidence that it can be helpful, it would seem to be a good thing to try first. First do no harm, and all that. :)
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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-08-11 10:37 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. There is no real evidence to try it.
Edited on Tue Mar-08-11 10:49 PM by HuckleB
No medication would be approved on that evidence. No new treatment would be approved on that evidence. Heck, they wouldn't even take such a treatment to bigger trials based on that evidence.

Try again.
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Celebration Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-08-11 11:57 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Sure there is
This isn't a medication. It has no side effects, except getting some endorphins, which sounds good. There is a possible upside, and no downside.
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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-11 08:29 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. LOL!
You keep telling yourself that, and choosing to ignore everything that has bee shown to you over and over again. A scam is a scam is a scam.

:rofl:
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Celebration Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-11 09:04 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. you are in denial
No amount of evidence would convince you. No matter, you can take refuge in the blogs you love.
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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-11 09:40 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. The denial is on your side of the ledger.
Edited on Wed Mar-09-11 09:51 AM by HuckleB
The evidence doesn't exist in the real world. Confounding pilot studies do not show a thing, especially when they are never followed up with larger studies. This is a game that SCAM practitioners play to confuse those who know no better.

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=216

Try again.
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Celebration Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-11 11:58 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. uh, don't try it
I have and really liked it. Helped me a lot. That is quite enough for me to recommend. Those that insist on more and larger costly studies before trying something innocuous like this, are missing out. You just aren't going to get huge studies on acupuncture until you find someone with deep pockets willing to do the studies, which are problematic anyway because there is always some objection from skeptics. But that is why we have freedom, so that we are able to choose whatever it is that we want for therapy. I require only that I feel better and get well.
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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-11 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Anecdotes are not data.
Try again.
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Confusious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-11 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Now it's the skeptics fault?

I thought it was big pharama.

Man the power the skeptics must have. I'm always the last to know.
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Celebration Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-11 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. at fault for what?
What are you talking about? Nobody is at "fault", although skeptics about acupuncture have poor reasoning skills, IMHO. However, some people are missing out on a good therapy by denying themselves acupuncture based on some sort of perceived lack of evidence. It is unfortunate for them, but it has no impact at all on me, thankfully. It is kind of a silly debate. Some people will try things because their next door neighbor recommends it, and some people wait until NEJM has a cover article with thousands of participants.........and everywhere in between.
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Confusious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-11 04:13 PM
Response to Reply #16
18.  So now it's the skeptics fault
Edited on Wed Mar-09-11 04:24 PM by Confusious
You just aren't going to get huge studies on acupuncture until you find someone with deep pockets willing to do the studies, which are problematic anyway because there is always some objection from skeptics.


So now it's the skeptics fault. I thought that was the fault of big pharma. You guys gotta get your talking points straight.

The skeptics would like to see it proved. You can make big money if you prove it works. The amazing randi's got a million bucks waiting for you.

The only objection skeptics have are that it has to be conducted in a scientific fashion. The woo peddlers never agree to that.

As for the rest:

If I'm sick I go to the doctor
If I want a massage, I go to the massage therapist.

Better all around.
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Celebration Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-11 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Eh, I don't really care
Go ahead and wait until after you are dead. That is fine with me.

So, what is the evidence that massage is good for you? Has it been tested in a double blind fashion?
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Confusious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-11 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. It doesn't need to be

It just feels good, it doesn't make any claims about curing all your ills.

Really, if you can't see why something should be tested and should not, you should just stop.
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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-11 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. Bad, bad skeptics.
Why won't they just ignore the lack of plausibility and the lack of evidence for acupuncture? Why, oh, why!!!!?????
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Celebration Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-11 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. Suit yourself
It is all just a choice, really. No skin off my back.............
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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-11 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Well, you are pushing to let this scam be perpetrated upon others...
Edited on Wed Mar-09-11 07:37 PM by HuckleB
... which may not take the skin off your back, but it's not ethical. In addition, for someone who claims not to care, you sure post about how little you say you care an awful lot.
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Celebration Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-11 09:09 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. funny, you think that is in your control?
Hate to break it to you, but you are not influencing.............
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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-11 09:28 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Thanks for continuing to say absolutely nothing.
:rofl:
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