Remedies for Hot Flashes
Learn to reduce hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms through hormone replacement therapy, exercise, and herbs.
Remedies for Hot Flashes
According to The New York Times, approximately 70 percent of women experience hot flashes during the transitional period of menopause, along with weight gain, loss of libido, and sexual dysfunction. On average, the process lasts 7 years.
There are several treatment options. Make sure to weigh the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
The most effective treatment for hot flashes is estrogen; however, estrogen increases the risk of future health problems, like heart disease, breast cancer, and blood clots. Estrogen may be taken alone or in combination with progesterone.
Women who have had a hysterectomy can safely take estrogenalone, while women with a uterus should take estrogen and progesterone together. Estrogen is not recommended for women with a history of breast canceror blood clots.
Low doses of antidepressants may improve symptoms in women with mild to moderate hot flashes. Examples of effective antidepressants include brand names Effexor, Paxil, and Prozac. According to a 2006 study published in American Family Physician, Effexor reduced the rate of hot flashes by 16 to 60 percent more than a placebo.
Gabapentin, an anti-seizure medication sold under the brand names Neurontin and Gralise, may be particularly effective for women who experience hot flashes at night. Possible side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, and headaches.
Clonidine, which is generally used to lower high blood pressure, may also reduce hot flashes in some women. Possible side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, and dry mouth.
Soy contains large quantities of phytoestrogens, chemicals that act like estrogen in the body. Specifically, soy is high in isoflavones, which bind to estrogen receptors in the body, reducing hot flashes.
One study found that soy supplements reduced hot flashes by 20 percent when compared to a placebo. Other studies showed no difference.
Black cohosh is the most popular and most studied herb for treating hot flashes, according to American Family Physician. Although the exact mechanism of black cohosh is unknown, researchers believe that it binds to estrogen receptors or exerts a stimulatory effect on serotonin receptors.
A study in Therapeuticon reported an 84 percent decrease inhot flashes when compared with a placebo, while others have reported nodifference.
Find Some Quiet Time
While medication and herbal supplements are popular treatments for hot flashes, making changes in your lifestyle is also a vital part of reducing hot flashes.
Relaxation and stress reduction techniques, such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing may improve hot flashes in some women. These relaxation techniques also have the added benefit of improving sleep quality.
Cool it Down
Even slight increases in your core body temperature can trigger hot flashes. Lower your room temperature by turning down the thermostat, turning on the air conditioner, or opening a window.
If the temperature of the room is out of your control, dress in layers. That way, when you start to feel your body temperature rise, you can remove a layer or two to cool your body down.
Watch What You Eat
Hot and spicy foods, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol have all been implicated in increasing the severity and frequency of hot flashes.
Learn what foods and drinks trigger your hot flashes and limit or completely avoid them if you can. Regularly sipping on cool beverages throughout the day may help keep body temperature down and reduce hot flashes.
Kick Some Butts
Smoking may trigger and or increase the severity of hot flashes. Quitting smoking can help reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes. The benefits don’t end there, though. Quitting smoking also helps reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and various cancers.