A New Treatment for Hot Flashes

Women who have moderate to severe hot flashes may have an alternative to hormone therapy: a technique known as hypnotic relaxation therapy.

Researchers from Baylor University analyzed 187 post-menopausal women who were assigned to receive five weekly sessions of either hypnotic relaxation therapy or supportive counseling to combat hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain and vaginal discomfort.

 Participants in the first group received a hypnotic induction as well as suggestions for relaxation, coolness and mental imagery. The women who received supportive counseling discussed their symptoms with a therapist but did not receive any hypnosis therapy.

At the end of the treatment, women in the hypnotic relaxation therapy group reported significantly higher sexual satisfaction and pleasure, as well as less discomfort during sex. The same results held true at a follow-up 12 weeks later.

The researchers, who presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, emphasized that other factors besides hot flashes can affect a womans’ sexual health after menopause. They include fatigue, self-esteem, a partner's health, relationship quality and a lack of interest by either or both partners.

The hypnotic relaxation therapy technique can be an option for women who cannot use hormone therapy, which has been linked to a more rapid growth of breast cancer.

 

 

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