Many women say they wouldn’t mind menopause so much if it weren’t for its symptoms—the mood swings, bladder problems, weight gain, hot flashes, and night sweats are just some of the changes that herald menopause. Fortunately, a recent study has suggested what you can do about three of these. The results of the study published in the journal Menopause indicate that switching to a low-fat diet that involves eating more whole grains, fruit, and vegetables and losing weight may help ease hot flashes and night sweats.

The study, which was conducted under the Women’s Health Initiative by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, involved 17,473 women who showed menopausal symptoms and were not taking hormone replacement therapy. Researchers found that women who adopted a low-fat, high-fruit-and-vegetable diet and who lost 10 or more pounds or 10 or more percent of their baseline body weight were able to reduce or even eliminate hot flashes and night sweats after a year.

“Since most women tend to gain weight with age, weight loss or weight gain prevention may offer a viable strategy to help eliminate hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause,” said Bette Caan, DrPH, senior author of the study and a research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research. Greater body fat, she explained, may make it hard for the body to shed heat, and hot flashes and night sweats may be the body’s solution to this problem.

While the relationship between your weight, diet, and symptoms still needs to be explored further, the researchers recommend adopting a healthier diet regardless, as even without weight loss, this may still help ease the symptoms of menopause.

(Photo by Penn State via Flickr Creative Commons)

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