Christine Pace, 48, says hot flashes control her life.
Menopause (search) ”wakes you up out of a sound sleep — you wake up in a sweat. All of the sudden you just feel the sweat just start coming; you start getting wet around your neck," she said.
Doctors say one-third of all menopausal women, such as Christine, experience dizziness, nausea and sweating from hot flashes. No one knows what causes them, but one doctor said he has the cure — a procedure specialists use for back and arm pain called the stellate ganglion block.
"It's primarily an injection in the neck to block the nerves in the neck that is designed to relieve the pain in the arm," said Dr. Eugene Lipov (search), a pain specialist.
But Lipov decided to try the procedure to treat hot flashes.
He has experimented on seven women so far, and all claim their symptoms temporarily went away.
"I went like six to eight weeks without a hot flash," Pace said.
Lipov’s contemporaries, however, contend that using the procedure for this unintended purpose can be dangerous.
"This isn't the way good medical science is done," pain specialist Dr. Timothy Lubenow (search) said.
The procedure is risky and women are being led to believe it works but there's no medical reason it should, he said.
"There is a potential to have the medicine injected around the spinal fluid and you wouldn't be able to breathe, you could have problems with blood pressure, could have cardiac arrest or a seizure," Lubenow said.
Lipov counters that risks are minimal and is trying to get his findings published, as he knows of no other performing this procedure on menopausal women.
Christine insists it is worth any risk to be free of hot flashes "just because it makes me feel good, makes me feel better."
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According to the North American Menopause Society, various treatments exist for ailments caused by menopause, but women should always consult a physician before beginning any method. These include lifestyle changes, nonprescription and prescription remedies as well as complementary and alternative medicine therapies.
Lifestyle changes include regular exercise and a balanced diet. Exercise helps reduce stress, ease weight problems and aid in sleep, problems for some menopausal women. In addition, “Some women report having fewer hot flashes when they exercise regularly,” according to the NAMS Web site.
NAMS encourages menopausal women to incorporate a balanced diet low in saturated fats and high in calcium, as during menopause the risk for osteoporosis increases. Other recommendations include taking vitamins and supplements.
Prescription remedies such as hormone therapies and estrogen treatment also are available. Complementary and alternative medicine therapies such as naturopathy, homeopathy and acupuncture are other ways some alleviate menopausal ailments.
As for Lipov’s experimental procedure, the treatment eventually may become accepted in medical circles, but for now many doctors remain skeptical and no insurance company has agreed to cover it.
Click in the video box above to watch a report by FOX News’ Jeff Goldblatt.