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Yoga Eases Some Menopause Symptoms

A 12-week yoga course and practicing at home eases insomnia felt by many women going through menopause. But the relaxation exercise did not significantly improve hot flashes and night sweats, two other common complaints of women nearing the end of their childbearing years.

The multi-center trial recruited nearly 250 healthy, previously sedentary women to see whether yoga and other natural approaches would help ease their menopause complaints. In addition to yoga, investigators compared moderate aerobic exercise and the potential benefits of taking fish oil supplements.

Yoga was linked to better quality sleep and less depression, but there was no statistically significant improvement in hot flashes and night sweat symptoms among women in the yoga group. In comparison, moderate aerobic exercise slightly improved sleep and eased depression. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil was not linked to any improvements in menopause symptoms.

The findings are part of a US trial called the "Menopause Strategies: Finding Lasting Answers for Symptoms and Health study," looking for alternatives to supplemental hormone therapy.

So-called hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, is currently the only regulatory-approved treatment for menopause symptoms. But researcher Katherine Newton of Group Health in Seattle, Washington notes fewer women are opting to take HRT. So, researchers are looking for healthy alternatives to ease menopause complaints.

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