Weight Gain and Hot Flashes
I have written a number of times about the ongoing recommendations re weight maintenance. It sees important, for a lot of reasons, that we try to at least hold our weight stable after breast cancer. Women who have not had breast cancer usually gain some weight after menopause, and we all know that our bodies change. No one is very happy with the little pot belly or larger hips, but, face it, we are just never going to have 30 year old bodies again.
There have been a number of studies that suggest that obesity, or even moderate weight gain, increases the recurrence risk. Here is a new study that gives us another reason to exercise and try to watch the calories. It appears that women who gain ten or more pounds after a diagnosis of breast cancer are at double the risk of hot flashes. Note that the women in this study were all taking AIs which, as you know, often causes hot flashes. Here it is:
Su HI et al. - This study tested if body size is associated with hot flashes in BCS on AI therapy. The results of this study support the thermoregulatory model of hot flashes and argue against a protective effect of body fat in this population.
- Cross-sectional study of postmenopausal BCS receiving adjuvant AI therapy was performed
- Primary outcome was occurrence of patient-reported hot flashes
- Primary exposures of interest were current body size and weight change since breast cancer diagnosis
- Three hundred participants were enrolled at a mean age of 61 years (range 33-86) after an average AI exposure of 23 months (range 1 month-9 years)
- Fifty-nine percent reported hot flashes, 32% reported moderate to severe hot flashes, and 25% reported significant worsening of hot flashes since starting AI therapy
- Sixty-one percent experienced weight maintenance (± 10 lb), while 27% had weight gain (gained 10 lb or more), and 11% had weight loss (lost 10 lb or more)
- In multivariable analysis, weight gain was independently associated with hot flash occurrence (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1-4.4) and hot flash severity (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.3-5.0) after adjusting for confounding
- Current body size was not associated with hot flash occurrence, severity or change with AI therapy
- In an outpatient BCS population on AI therapy, weight gain is a risk factor for hot flash occurrence
- Women who gained at least 10 lb since breast cancer diagnosis were two times more likely to have hot flashes than women who maintained or lost weight