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Nerve injection might relieve hot flashes

Provided by: RELAXNEWS
Written by: Relaxnews
Feb. 21, 2014

(Adam Gregor/shutterstock.com)


A new small study has found an anesthetic injection near a nerve bundle in the neck may bring women relief from hot flashes. The technique is referred to as stellate ganglion block and is a common pain treatment. Researchers say the injection could benefit women unable to take hormone replacement therapy, as well as those interested in other treatment options.

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"Women are looking for non-hormonal alternatives for hot flashes," said senior researcher Pauline Maki, an associate professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Women who received the injection for pain relief noted a decrease in the intensity and number of their hot flashes, which prompted the study.

"The findings from our study provide some compelling data that this procedure may offer women a novel, non-hormonal approach to controlling their hot flashes," said Maki.

Maki also noted the procedure requires a trained anesthesiologist, as pain at the injection site is a common side effect. The study was recently published in the online version of the journal Menopause and is supported by the the US National Institutes of Health and Northwestern University in Chicago.

The study featured 40 women ages 30 to 70 who suffered from moderate to severe hot flashes. Some received the injection and others a placebo featuring saline solution. The women reported their hot flash experiences for six months, with both groups still having the same number of episodes. However, those who received the injection noted a decrease in severity.

Maki is hoping her study will open the proverbial door to more options for hot flash treatment.

"[Women with breast cancer] experience more hot flashes than other women, and, unfortunately, they can't take hormone therapy," she said. "That will be the group that will likely benefit most from this."

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