Primary research

Menopausal hot flash frequency changes in response to experimental manipulation of blood glucose

An experimental study was conducted in 10 postmenopausal women taking hormone therapy (HT) between the ages of 38 and 55. Following a clinic visit to screen for general health and absence of diabetes, HT participants were asked to stop the medication for 7 to 10 days and to maintain a diary of hot flash frequency. When hot flashes were experienced at least four times per day in a consecutive 3-day period, participants were admitted to the General Clinical Research Center for a 30-hour experimental protocol, including frequent blood sampling and two experimental periods of intravenous infusion of glucose or normal saline. Blood glucose levels were manipulated to provide conditions of postprandial versus fasting states.

Results: There was a significant reduction in the incidence of hot flashes during the experimental elevation of glucose concentrations (130 to 140 mg/dl) compared to the fasting state (<110 mg/dl) (t= -2.4, df= 9, p=.04).

Conclusions: Conditions of fasting may stimulate the trigger mechanism for menopausal hot flashes.