Objective: This meta-analysis aims to evaluate the effects of acupuncture on hot flash frequency and severity, menopause-related symptoms, and quality of life in women in natural menopause.
Methods: We systematically searched PubMed/Medline, PsychINFO, Web of Science, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and CINAHL using keywords such as acupuncture, hot flash, menopause-related symptoms, and quality of life. Heterogeneity, moderator analysis, publication bias, and risk of bias associated with the included studies were examined.
Results: Of 104 relevant studies, 12 studies with 869 participants met the inclusion criteria and were included in this study. We found that acupuncture significantly reduced the frequency (g = -0.35; 95% CI, -0.5 to -0.21) and severity (g = -0.44; 95% CI, -0.65 to -0.23) of hot flashes. Acupuncture significantly decreased the psychological, somatic, and urogenital subscale scores on the Menopause Rating Scale (g = -1.56, g = -1.39, and g = -0.82, respectively; P < 0.05). Acupuncture improved the vasomotor subscale score on the Menopause-Specific Quality of Life questionnaire (g= -0.46; 95% CI, -0.9 to -0.02). Long-term effects (up to 3 mo) on hot flash frequency and severity (g = -0.53 and g = -0.55, respectively) were found.
Conclusions: This meta-analysis confirms that acupuncture improves hot flash frequency and severity, menopause-related symptoms, and quality of life (in the vasomotor domain) in women experiencing natural menopause.