After six weeks, 65 percent of women who underwent group therapy reported a meaningful drop in how problematic their hot-flash symptoms were. The same was true of 73 percent of women in the self-help group. That compared with 21 percent of women who had had no treatment.
The benefit was still apparent after six months, though by then one-third of the untreated group had also improved.
Women in the therapy groups said they were having fewer hot flashes - but women who had received no treatment reported a similar drop, the study said. Instead, the benefit seemed to come from changes in how women perceived their symptoms.
Hot flash survival tips
- Dress in layers, so you can peel off one layer after another as you get warmer.
- Don’t wear wool, don’t wear synthetics, and be wary of silk. That leaves cotton, linen, rayon, and more cotton. (Look at the bright side: You’ll save on cleaning bills, and you can stop worrying about moths.)
- Avoid turtlenecks. Stick to open-neck shirts.
- Keep ice water at hand that you can sip to cool down your insides.
- Where possible, lower the thermostat. Maybe it’s time for a decent air conditioner or a ceiling fan. Or maybe you’d prefer one of those little hand-held battery-operated fans or the foldable kind you flutter in front of your face. You can find perfectly adequate paper fans for about a dollar.
- Wear cotton pajamas or a nightgown. If you perspire a lot at night, your nightclothes are easier to change than the sheets.
- Use cotton sheets only, not synthetics.
- Get a bigger bed if you and your partner are on different heat planets but you still want to stay in close orbit.
- Take a cool shower before bed.
- Try a mild medication like Tylenol
- Arrive at meetings early so that you can get the coolest seat.
- Use your freezer liberally. A number of women talked about opening the freezer at home (or in the supermarket) and sticking their head in when a hot flash hits.
“Women say that they might still have hot flashes but not notice them, and then they feel more confident about coping with them,” Hunter said.
Effectiveness of group and self-help cognitive behavior therapy in reducing problematic menopausal hot flushes and night sweats (MENOS 2): a randomized controlled trial
Ayers, Beverley DHealthPsych; Smith, Melanie DClinPsych; Hellier, Jennifer MSc; Mann, Eleanor DPhil; Hunter, Myra S. PhD