It is a common side effect of breast cancer therapies. Hot flashes are brief episodes of flushing, sweating, increase in the heartbeat and sensations of heat. After an eight-week treatment period, the study participants in the electroacupuncture group showed the greatest improvement in a standard measure of hot flash frequency and severity, known as the hot flash composite score (HFCS).
- How hot flashes arise is still not known, though they are closely associated with decreased levels of the primary female sex hormone estrogen.
- The researchers analyzed how effectively an acupuncture technique known as electroacupuncture, in which embedded needles deliver weak electrical currents, reduces incidents of hot flashes as compared to the epilepsy drug gabapentin, which was previously shown to be effective in reducing hot flashes for these patients.
- For the study, the research team enrolled 120 breast cancer survivors, all of whom reported experiencing multiple hot flashes per day.