Acupuncture for Male Hot Flashes

| September 15, 2011 | 0 Comments | 190 views

  Many women know all about hot flashes, and there are several different options to control them. But, women are not the only ones who get them. Thousands of men with prostate cancer receive hormone injections to slow the cancer's growth. One of the side effects is hot flashes. Now men with hot flashes are finding relief with an unlikely treatment.

  Clarence Read wouldn't have even thought about mowing his lawn last summer. "If it was hot, and the sun was shining, I just didn't dare," he says. "I'd break out in a rash in just a few minutes."

  Read needed treatment for prostate cancer, but the hormone injections he received left him with hot flashes -- a common side effect. Now, he is one of 25 prostate cancer patients in a clinical trial at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland -- a follow-up to a study done in Sweden.

  "This was a study of seven men, and they experienced a 50- to 70-percent reduction in the frequency and intensity of hot flashes," says Family Physician/Medical Acupuncturist Meg Hayes, M.D., of Oregon Health & Science University.

  Hot flashes are associated with low levels of the "feel good" hormone called serotonin. "We're hoping to increase the levels of serotonin and its metabolites throughout the body, and we're going to be checking that through a series of blood tests and urine tests," Dr. Hayes tells Ivanhoe.

  Patients also keep track of their hot flashes in a daily diary. Read has gone from up to 10 hot flashes a day down to less than two a week. And he isn't the only patient reporting changes.

  "So far, the first three out of three men had significant reductions in hot flashes after four weeks of acupuncture, but these are very preliminary results," says Tomasz M. Beer, a hematologist/oncologist at OHSU Cancer Institute.

  Conclusive results will be available next year. For now, Read says he's just happy to be mowing his lawn.

  Doctors say the risks of acupuncture are minimal, but do include infection, and redness where the needles are inserted.

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