Nerve-blocking injection halves severe hot flashes

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An injection that blocks nerves in the neck cut the number of moderate-to-severe hot flashes women experience in half, providing a potential alternative for women who cannot or do not want to take hormones.

Researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Chicago tested 40 women who were experiencing hot flashes over a four to six month period. Women either received an injection of a nerve-blocking anesthetic or a saline solution, and over the study period wore skin conductance monitors to gauge the number of hot flashes they experienced. Neither injection reduced the total number of hot flashes women experienced, which averaged 10 a day, but women who received the anesthetic injection saw a 52 percent reduction in the number of moderate-to-severe hot flashes, compared to only 4 percent in the placebo group. Women receiving the nerve-blocking treatment also experienced a 38 percent reduction in the intensity of their hot flashes, compared to 8 percent of women placebo group.

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