To investigate the effectiveness of exercise as treatment for vasomotor menopausal symptoms.
Three‐group randomised controlled trial, two exercise interventions and a control group.
Primary Care, West Midlands UK.
Perimenopausal and postmenopausal women experiencing at least five hot flushes/night sweats per day and not taken MHT in previous 3 months were recruited from 23 general practices.
Participants in both exercise interventions groups were offered two face‐to‐face consultations with a physical activity facilitator to support engagement in regular exercise. In addition, one exercise group received a menopause‐specific information DVD and written materials to encourage regular exercise and the other exercise group was offered the opportunity to attend exercise social support groups in their communities. Interventions lasted 6 months.
Main outcome measure
The primary outcome was frequency of hot flushes/night sweats at 6‐month up.
Two hundred and sixty‐one women were randomised (n = 87 per group). Neither of the exercise intervention groups reported significantly less frequent hot flushes/night sweats per week than controls (exercise‐DVD versus control: −8.9, 95% CI −20.0 to 2.2; exercise‐social support versus control: −5.2, 95% CI −16.7 to 6.3).
This trial indicates that exercise is not an effective treatment for hot flushes/night sweats. Contrary to current clinical guidance, women should not be advised that exercise will relieve their vasomotor menopausal symptoms.