Washington: A study has found that a shot in the neck of local anesthesia may reduce severe hot flashes by nearly 50 percent for at least six months.
David Walega, MD, chief of the Division of Pain Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and his team studied forty women between 35 and 65 years old experiencing natural or induced menopause.
The women suffered debilitating hot flashes with more severe symptoms than the typical hot flash.
To administer the treatment, the doctor used low dose X-ray to guide an injection of bupivacaine hydrochloride, a commonly used local anesthetic, into a nerve bundle called the stellate ganglion, located in the neck near the "voice box."
The idea came from a pain study published in 2007 in the medical journal "The Lancet," where stellate ganglion injections were performed to try to alleviate pain.
In some cases, hot flashes dissipated after the injection, independent of pain relief, leading Walega's research team to wonder if this might be a safe, effective way of treating hot flashes from menopause.
Walega's patients tracked their hot flashes for two weeks before and six months after the injection. Half the group got the anesthetic; the other a placebo injection of saline, or salt-water. Those who received the anesthetic medication reported a reduction of hot flashes by a half. The benefits lasted at least six months.