Other Prescription Drug Treatments For Hot Flashes
- The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications have been shown be effective in reducing menopausal hot flashes. These drugs are generally used in the treatment of depression and anxiety as well as other condition. Paroxetine is an SSRI approved to treat moderate to severe hot flashes associated with menopause.
- Clonidine is an anti-hypertensive drug that can relieve hot flashes in some women. Clonidine is taken either by pill or skin patch and decreases blood pressure. Side effects of clonidine can include dry mouth, constipation, drowsiness, or difficulty sleeping.
- Gabapentin , a drug primarily used for the treatment of seizures, has also been effective in treating hot flashes.
- Megestrol acetate is a progestin that is sometimes prescribed over a short-term to help relieve hot flashes, but this drug is not usually recommended as a first-line treatment for hot flashes. Serious side effects can occur if the medication is abruptly discontinued. Megestrol may have the side effect of weight gain.
- Medroxyprogesterone acetate is another progestin drug and is administered by injection to treat hot flashes. It may lead to weight gain as well as bone loss.
Some alternative treatments, however, have been evaluated in well-designed clinical trials. Alternative treatments that have been scientifically studied with some research include phytoestrogens , black cohosh, and vitamin E.
There Is No Escaping The Impact Menopause Will Have On Us Women We Will Come Out Changed
However, its up to us, exactly how much we let that impact shape us.
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What Treatments Are Available
As is the case with most menopausal issues, many treatments involve Hormone Replacement Therapy . In cases where hormone treatments are not ideal in a particular case, there are non-hormonal medications, and alternative ways to potentially treat menopause-related sleep problems.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy: There are several types of hormone therapies available to women. They include bioidentical hormones, synthetic hormones and combinations of the aforementioned. Bioidentical hormones are biologically identical to the hormones women produce in their ovaries: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Hormone replacement therapy can alleviate symptoms by providing the body with adequate hormones for the body to function well.
- Nonhormonal Medication: A doctor may also recommend non-hormonal medications to treat symptoms in lieu of hormone replacement therapy.
- Antidepressants can not only treat depression and mental health issues caused by menopause, but also vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes.
- Brisdelle is medication containing a very low dose of paroxetine, which is branded as Paxil, and is approved only for the treatment of night sweats and hot flashes. The dose is too low to effectively treat depression.
- Gabapentin can decrease the frequency and intensity of hot flashes and night sweats.
- Clonidine is a hypertension medication that may help with vasomotor symptoms but usually not as effectively as the medications mentioned above.
Also Check: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Perimenopause
Stress And Emotional Causes
In reaction to emotional stimuli, your body may release the stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, which pump up blood flow and produce a warming sensation throughout the body. Similar to blushing, flushing can result from a wide variety of factorsfrom stress to spinal cord lesions and migraine headachescausing entire sections of your body to turn red and feel extremely warm. Sometimes, flushing is simply an allergic skin reaction to outside stimuli like food or environmental elements.
Which Type Of Doctor Treats Hot Flashes
Many women will consult their gynecologist for the management of hot flashes associated with approaching menopause. Hot flashes are also treated by primary care providers, including internists and family practitioners. Hot flashes related to uncommon conditions, serious infections, or cancers are treated by the specialists treating the underlying condition.
Recommended Reading: Heightened Sense Of Smell Perimenopause
Are There Common Hot Flash Triggers
Lifestyle habits might be to blame for the frequency and severity of hot flashes. Consider your diet carefully. Caffeine, artificial sweeteners, large meals and spicy foods are common culprits. Always have plenty of cool water on hand, since adequate hydration tends to mitigate symptoms. Alcohol, particularly red wine, can bring on hot flashes. Smoking also triggers hot flashes: in fact, regular smokers tend to experience menopause at an earlier age and have more severe symptoms.
Sedentary lifestyle and obesity are directly correlated with hot flash occurrence. Choice of clothing material and fit can make those with flashes more or less comfortable. My hot flashing patients often tell me that they have given away all their turtlenecks and avoid silk in fear of perspiration. Finally, stress is an incredibly common trigger.
Read Also: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
Purpose Of This Summary
This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the pathophysiology and treatment of hot flashes and night sweats. It is intended as a resource to inform and assist clinicians who care for cancer patients. It does not provide formal guidelines or recommendations for making health care decisions.
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Soy And Other Plant Sources For Menopause Symptoms
Isoflavones are chemical compounds found in soy and other plants that are phytoestrogens, or plant-derived estrogens. They have a chemical structure that is similar to the estrogens naturally produced by the body, but their effectiveness as an estrogen has been determined to be much lower than true estrogens.
Some studies have shown that these compounds may help relieve hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. In particular, women who have had breast cancer and do not want to take hormone therapy with estrogen sometimes use soy products for relief of menopausal symptoms. However, some phytoestrogens can actually have anti-estrogenic properties in certain situations, and the overall risks of these preparations have not yet been determined.
There is also a perception among many women that plant estrogens are ânaturalâ and therefore safer than hormone therapy, but this has never been proven scientifically. Further research is needed to fully characterize the safety and potential risks of phytoestrogens.
Who Is The Johns Hopkins Gynecologist For Hot Flashes
Wen Shen, M.D., M.P.H., a Johns Hopkins gynecologist who specializes in perimenopause and menopause, shares information about hot flashes and steps you can take to minimize their affect. A: Hot flashes are the quick bursts of hot skin and often drenching sweat that last anywhere from 30 seconds to about five minutes.
Read Also: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
Dealing With Hot Flashes
Hot flashes can be a nuisance, but there are several lifestyle changes that may be helpful in dealing with or preventing them.
- Keep the house cool and avoid overly warm environments.
- Dress in light, loose, layered clothing.
- Stay hydrated by sipping cold water.
- Carry a portable fan.
- Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine in excess.
- If you smoke, make a plan to quit.
What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Hot Flashes
- Hot flashes are typically brief, lasting from about 30 seconds to a few minutes.
- Redness of the skin, known as flushing, may accompany hot flashes.
- Excessive perspiration can also occur when hot flashes occur during sleep they may be accompanied by night sweats.
- Feelings of anxiety may accompany hot flashes.
- Occasionally, palpitations may occur during hot flashes.
The timing of the onset of hot flashes in women approaching menopause is variable.
- While not all women will experience hot flashes, many normally menstruating women will begin experiencing hot flashes even several years prior to the cessation of menstrual periods.
- It is impossible to predict if a woman will experience hot flashes, and if she does, when they will begin.
- About 40% to 85% of women experience hot flashes at some point in the menopausal transition.
- black cohosh, and
- alternative therapies.
Some of these have not been tested by clinical studies, nor are they approved by the US Food and Drug Administration .
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Permission To Use This Summary
PDQ is a registered trademark. Although the content of PDQ documents can be used freely as text, it cannot be identified as an NCI PDQ cancer information summary unless it is presented in its entirety and is regularly updated. However, an author would be permitted to write a sentence such as NCIs PDQ cancer information summary about breast cancer prevention states the risks succinctly: .
The preferred citation for this PDQ summary is:
PDQ® Supportive and Palliative Care Editorial Board. PDQ Hot Flashes and Night Sweats. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated < MM/DD/YYYY> . Available at: . Accessed < MM/DD/YYYY> .
Images in this summary are used with permission of the author, artist, and/or publisher for use within the PDQ summaries only. Permission to use images outside the context of PDQ information must be obtained from the owner and cannot be granted by the National Cancer Institute. Information about using the illustrations in this summary, along with many other cancer-related images, is available in Visuals Online, a collection of over 2,000 scientific images.
Other Causes For Hot Flashes
When someone experiences hot flashes, a doctor can tell with a simple blood test if the problem is related to menopause or due to some other reason. Menopause usually occurs in the 50s, so when someone much younger has hot flashes, physicians will often look for additional causes. Some of the most common ones include:
- Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism, which causes an overabundance of thyroid hormone, can increase the bodys metabolism and lead to hot flashes and sweating. While hypothyroidism is the usual culprit in these cases, non-menopausal hot flashes can also be due to thyroid cancer.
- Food and drink, including spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol, can trigger hot flashes. While the symptoms appear after a meal or a few drinks, this type of hot flash can often be stopped by eating lighter and limiting or eliminating caffeine and alcohol.
- Medication can bring on flushing and continue as long as you are taking them changing medications often makes the condition go away.
- Stress accompanied by a rush of adrenaline can produce a feeling of warmth like a hot flash, so if you live a stress filled life, you may set off this reaction.
- Hormone-secreting tumors such as pancreatic tumors override the organs ability to help the body function properly and can lead to hot flashes and sweating.
- Other conditions such as HIV and tuberculosis can produce symptoms similar to hot flashes and night sweats.
Also Check: Menopause Hair Texture
Tips For Reducing Hot Flushes
You can try these tips to ease your symptoms:
- cut out or reduce coffee and tea
- stop smoking
- keep the room cool and use a fan if necessary
- if you feel a flush coming on, spray your face with cool water or use a cold gel pack
- wear loose layers of light cotton or silk clothes so you can easily take some clothes off if you overheat
- have layers of sheets on the bed, rather than a duvet, so you can remove them as you need to
- cut down on alcohol
- sip cold or iced drinks
- have a lukewarm shower or bath instead of a hot one
- if medicine is causing your hot flushes, talk to your doctor about other ways you can take it to avoid this side effect
Treatments For Hot Flushes
Many women learn to live with menopause-related hot flushes, but if they’re really bothering you and interfering with your day-to-day life, talk to a GP about treatments that may help.
The most effective treatment for hot flushes is hormone replacement therapy , which usually completely gets rid of them. Your doctor will talk to you about the benefits and risks of using HRT.
If you have had a type of cancer that’s sensitive to hormones, such as breast cancer, your doctor will not recommend HRT and will talk to you about alternatives.
Other medicines have been shown to help, including some antidepressants and a medicine called clonidine.
Read Also: Early Menopause After Tubal Ligation
What Women Experience During Menopause
During the time, months, or years, prior to menopause, women can experience a wide variety of symptoms that are brought on by the hormonal changes in their bodies. Aside from the decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels, physical and emotional symptoms are very common and include:
- Irregular periods
- Weight gain and/or slowed metabolism
- Dry skin and other tissues
- Thinning or loss of hair
- Sleep disturbances
What Is Relaxation Breathing
Deep breathing, relaxation breathing, and paced respiration all refer to a method used to reduce stress. It involves breathing in deeply and breathing out at an even pace. Do this for several minutes while in a comfortable position. You should slowly breathe in through your nose. With a hand on your stomach right below your ribs, you should first feel your stomach push your hand out, and then your chest should fill. Slowly exhale through your mouth, first letting your lungs empty and then feeling your stomach sink back. You can do this almost anywhere and several times during the day, whenever you feel stressed. You can also try this if you feel a hot flash beginning or if you need to relax before falling asleep.
What Causes A Hot Flash
Hot flashes occur when estrogen levels in the body drop. Estrogen is a hormone that is responsible for the regulation of the reproductive system in people with a uterus.
Falling estrogen levels affect the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls appetite, body temperature, hormones, and sleep patterns. The hypothalamus is sometimes called the bodys thermostat because of the role it plays in regulating body temperature.
A drop in estrogen levels can cause the hypothalamus to get mixed signals. If it senses that the body is too warm, it prompts a chain of events to cool the body down: The blood vessels dilate, blood flow is increased to the surface of the skin, and heart rate may increase as the body tries to cool off. Some people experience a chilled feeling after a hot flash.
Most hot flashes are caused by hormonal changes, but they can also be related to other health conditions, substances, and even certain treatments or medications.
Other things that can cause hot flashes include:
- Thyroid issues
Dress For The Weather
Dressing in easy-to-peel layers may work well when a hot flash hits in cool weather, but how can you improve your choice of clothing in the summer, when youre not likely to wear more than a single layer?
For starters, you can opt for looser pieces of clothing. Besides helping you avoid restrictive clothing that may trigger a hot flash, wearing loose, flowy tops, bottoms, and dresses can help you conceal any wetness, if you tend to sweat a lot.
The materials you choose to wear can also make a major difference. Whenever possible, choose cotton, linen, and lightweight breathable wool over silk or synthetic materials.
Also Check: How To Increase Breast Size After Menopause
Anxiety Or Panic Attacks
Having an anxiety or a panic attack can be really scary and traumatic due to the many different weird symptoms it brings, and some of those are hot flashes which can usually make the attack even more frightening.
What you need to do is try your very best to relax during an anxiety or a panic attack to put an end to those hot flashes, as well as other unfavorable things like palpitations and shortness of breath.
It is a good idea for you to seek the help of a therapist or psychiatrist if your anxiety or panic attacks are already keeping your from having a normal life there are pharmacological and non-pharmacological solutions around.
What Does Research Say
It might surprise you that there hasnt been much researchdone on menopause even though it affects women on a daily basis.
It just isnt that popular in the research industry.
Who cares about a woman getting sweaty when she sleeps whenthere are much more pressing matters like cancer and pandemics to cure?
It just doesnt matter.
But to us, it matters. To women, it means quality of life even if it is less important than other things.
It isnt a high priority.
There has been some research done on hot flashes and night sweats, but as mentioned in Harvard Health, research just doesnt know what causes it for sure.
So that it that, right?
Nope! I will let you know what I have found, and you can leave a comment about what you have found if you like.
Ill tell you what works for me and you can do the same. Together as a sisterhood, we will help each other. Thats what Crunchy Menopause is all about.
Lets help each other.
Recommended Reading: Relactation After Menopause
What Is A Hot Flash
Intense warmth. A hot flash is a sudden feeling of warmth around your body. It is typically most intense on your chest, face, and neck. Many people find that their skin becomes pink or red, almost like theyre blushing.
Because of the intense warmth, your hot flash may also cause you to sweat. If you sweat a lot, this could cause you to lose too much body heat. You might experience chills after the hot flash is over.
Other medical conditions can cause hot flashes but they are most commonly due to menopause. You may continue to experience them even after menopause has ended.
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