Acupuncture for Hot Flashes
Acupuncture & Natural Medicine                             Dr. Peng in Bethesda, Maryland           
301 340 8444
What is “hot flash”? If you have experienced, you would know. If you saw other people having it, you
would know. For a typic hot flash, warm feeling starts from cheek area, spreading entire face followed
by the redness of face. The person with hot flash would try to use anything as fan to cool the face.
The hot flash disappears after some minutes (about 5-10 minutes), a few hours later, it comes back
again.

Hot flash is a common symptom occurring in perimenopause and menopaused women. The degree of
severity very considerably among women. For some, the hot flash could come once a day, for others,
it happens many times. Sweats, especially night sweats often come with it. Sleep disruption by hot
flashes is common.

Not all hot flash is related to menopause. Certain medications also cause the hot flash. A notable one
is the tamoxifen, an antagonist for estrogen receptor, used for breast cancer treatment. The hot flash
could also happen in man with prostate cancer and undergone treatment with medication Lupron.
The underline mechanism of hog flash is the deficiency of female estrogen. As a normal aging
process, middle aged women start to have less estrogen production. Consequently, hot flash comes
and lasts for a long period of time until the body finally adopts it.

Hormone replacement therapy containing estrogen and progestin (HRT) is being used to treat hot
flash. But the increased risk of cancer/heart disease/stroke/pulmonary emboli in HRT had made
patients have second thought. Alternatively, some supplements (such as soy product and flexaweed)
containing phytoestrogen were tried and it may or may not have the benefit.

Acupuncture has always been a good choice for reduction of hot flash. As a non-drug therapy, it does
not carry the common side effects of HRT. A course of acupuncture (6-8 times) can cut both
frequency and intensity of hot flash. In some cases, it could make hot flash disappear. There are a
group of acupuncture points that could regulate female hormones and help to alleviate hot flash. The
research study confirms the benefit of acupuncture on hot flash. In addition, there are specific points
for excessive sweating and insomnia. Together, it can help patients with hot flashes and sweats
improve the quality of life.