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What To Take For Menopause Hot Flashes

Ways To Relieve Menopausal Hot Flashes

What Causes Hot Flashes In Menopause?

If you’re approaching or in the midst of the “change of life,” or menopause, hot flashes are probably an unwelcome visitor. Hot flashes can include a feeling of intense heat, sweating, flushed cheeks, increased heart rate, and even tingling. These symptoms are often the bane of menopausal people everywhere.

Due to plummeting estrogen levels, about 75% of all menopausal people experience hot flashesa symptom that lasts for about two years, but some can experience it for longer. Hot flashes usually start before the final menstrual cycle, but the transition of menopause and its symptoms can start up to seven years prior to the cessation of bleeding.

Traditional hormone replacement therapy that includes estrogen and progesterone replacement provides effective relief from hot flashes associated with menopause. However, some people may not be able to use HRT, such as those recently treated for breast cancer. And others may be curious about trying lifestyle changes to keep them from constantly burning up.

Here are some nonhormonal suggestions for reducing the severity of your hot flashes.

What Did This Study Do

This systematic review identified 47 randomised controlled trials including 8,326 women aged 45 years or older who had gone through natural menopause and not had a hysterectomy. Trials assessed 16 classes of treatments given for up to 26 weeks.

Most drugs were compared to placebo in the underlying studies. The authors conducted a network meta-analysis, which is a statistical technique used to estimate the effects of treatments with each other across the active arms of the included trials. The primary aim was to look at the frequency of vasomotor symptoms, adverse effects of treatment discontinuation and vaginal bleeding. Six months treatment was not long enough to quantify the frequency of rarer adverse effects.

Some analyses combined mixed populations of women with and without a uterus, as the authors found similar effects for both groups. The small number of studies, significant difference in results and lack of information on symptom severity may limit confidence in the indirect results or precise rankings.

Ways To Combat Hot Flashes

An OB-GYN shares tips for finding relief

    In an uncertain world, hot flashes are one of the few things you can count on: A large majority of women have them during menopause.

    Menopause begins in your 40s or 50s at 51, on average. It is a natural process during which your ovaries slowly stop producing eggs and releasing them into your uterus every month. This change disrupts the hormonal shifts that normally come with your menstrual cycle. In particular, fluctuations in estrogen levels can become more extreme, which affects the way your body regulates heat.

    Just before, during and just after menopause, your blood vessels will sometimes constrict and then expand rapidly. These vasomotor spasms, as they are called, start the chain of events that lead to the skin flushing and temperature changes known as hot flashes.

    Hot flashes aren’t dangerous, and you don’t need to treat them if they dont bother you very much. Eventually, they’ll stop on their own: Though some women experience hot flashes into their 60s, the symptoms usually go away after an average of seven years.

    But in the meantime, they can be very uncomfortable, and they can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. It’s fortunate, then, that relief is available. Murali Vinta, MD, an OB-GYN at Rush, recommends five ways to find it:

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    What Does Current Guidance Say On This Issue

    The NICE 2015 guideline on diagnosis and management of menopause recommends offering oestrogen and progestogen to women with a uterus for short-term management of vasomotor symptoms. NICE also recommend that before recommending isoflavones and black cohosh for vasomotor symptoms, practitioners should explain that evidence is limited, preparations may vary, safety is uncertain and there may be drug interactions.

    The guideline recommends against the routine use of SSRIs, SNRIs and clonidine as first-line treatment.

    Using Herbs And Supplements During Menopause

    Sweats &  Hot Flashes Increase Heart Diseases in Menopausal ...

    There are many different herbs and supplements that are used to treat menopause symptoms. Though many of these remedies have been used for generations, most dont have a lot of evidence to support their use. They are also not regulated by the FDA, which means that their safety and contents arent guaranteed. Finally, many commercial products have multiple ingredients, which can make it confusing to know exactly what you are taking.

    Nonetheless, many people do find these treatments helpful. If you do decide to try an herb or supplement for your menopause symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider before starting, especially if you have other health conditions, take prescription medications, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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    Treatments For Hot Flushes

    Many women learn to live with menopause-related hot flushes. If they’re bothering you, talk to your GP about treatments that may help.Hormone replacement therapy is the most effective treatment for hot flushes. Your GP will talk to you about the benefits and risks of using HRT.

    HRT is not recommended if you have had a type of cancer that’s sensitive to hormones, such as breast cancer. Your GP will talk to you about alternatives.

    Other medicines that can help include some antidepressants and a medicine called clonidine.

    Vaginal Moisturizers And Lubricants

    Although not technically natural remedies, vaginal moisturizers work for several days to make the vagina more elastic, and vaginal lubricants help reduce friction and pain during sex. Water-based products are unlikely to provoke an allergic response and are easy to find in drug stores.

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    Symptoms Of The Menopause

    Most women will experience menopausal symptoms. Some of these can be quite severe and have a significant impact on your everyday activities.

    Common symptoms include:

    Menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before your periods stop and last around 4 years after your last period, although some women experience them for much longer.

    For A Better Nights Sleep

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Help with hot flashes due to menopause

    Do you have low magnesium levels? That affects getting a quality nights sleep. Most people can benefit from taking a quality magnesium supplement, here is one that I recommend: Better Brain & Sleep .

    You can also ask your doctor to test you for some markers that can assess what might be an issue impacting your sleep .

    While I have had great results with the above recommendations in my programs and with clients, always discuss new supplements you might want to try with your doctor.

    Note about hormone replacement therapy Estrogen hormone replacement therapy does offer a proven hot flash solution, but one that involves risks for some women due to the added estrogen circulating throughout the bloodstream, so it is not recommended for women having breast cancer as well as other health conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Please discuss with your doctor. Also note that local estrogen therapies have not been found to be effective with hot flashes or insomnia.

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    Benefits And Risks Of Hormone Replacement Therapy

    The main benefit of HRT is that it can help relieve most menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes, brain fog, joint pains, mood swings and vaginal dryness.

    It can also help prevent thinning of the bones, which can lead to fractures . Osteoporosis is more common after the menopause.

    Some types of HRT can slightly increase the risk of breast cancer and blood clots in some women. You need to discuss whether you have any risk factors with a doctor or nurse.

    Evidence says that the risks of HRT are small and usually outweighed by the benefits.

    Your GP can give you more information about the risks and benefits of HRT to help you decide whether or not you want to take it.

    Lifestyle Changes To Improve Hot Flashes

    Before considering medication, first try making changes to your lifestyle. If hot flashes , lower the temperature in your bedroom and try drinking small amounts of cold water before bed. Layer your bedding so it can be adjusted as needed and turn on a fan. Here are some other lifestyle changes you can make:

    • Dress in layers that can be removed at the start of a hot flash.
    • Carry a portable fan to use when a hot flash strikes.
    • Avoid , spicy foods, and caffeine. These can make menopausal symptoms worse.
    • , not only for hot flashes, but for your overall health.
    • Try to . Women who are overweight or obese may experience more frequent and severe hot flashes.
    • Explore mind-body practices. Some early-stage research has shown that hypnotherapy and mindfulness meditation could help with management of hot flashes.

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    Utilize Supplements And Herbs

    Many people use black cohosh, a large plant from the buttercup family, to reduce hot flashes, although little evidence exists as to how effective it actually is. Still, some swear that black cohosh root provides effective relief from these and other symptoms of menopause, including headaches, heart palpitations, and anxiety.

    According to the North American Menopause Society, despite the lack of definitive evidence, “it would seem that black cohosh is a safe, herbal medicine.” Some other herbs with anecdotal evidence of helping hot flashes include red clover, dong quai, and evening primrose oil.

    Medicine Versus The Placebo Effect

    What Every Women Should Know about Hot Flashes

    There are a number of different medicines that your doctor might prescribe to help reduce and control hot flushes. But before taking any of these, there is something important to bear in mind.

    When researchers want to find out how well a treatment works in a trial, they sometimes test it against a dummy treatment, or placebo. The people taking part in the trial dont know whether they are taking the new treatment or the placebo. Many of us feel better when taking something that we think will help.

    In nearly all trials looking at treatment for hot flushes, people taking the placebo said that their flushes were reduced by about a fifth . It is important to bear this in mind when we are looking at other treatments. If a treatment reduces hot flushes by 20% or less, it may not be better than a placebo.

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    Do Menopause Supplements Work

    As already mentioned, menopause supplements may work for some women, but because the studies on these products and their ingredients are inconclusive, we cannot know for sure.

    What we do know is that women taking these supplements claim they offer relief and these claims often come from clinical trials.

    Menopause supplements containing black cohosh are most likely to work, but so are those containing other botanicals that affect the hormones, and neurotransmitters.

    Some of the botanicals used in menopause supplements address anxiety and depression symptoms, which might directly impact the severity of menopause symptoms.

    This is because the severity of hot flashes and night sweats can become worse as a result of depression and anxiety as found in one study published in the journal Menopause.

    Hot Flushes And Night Sweats

    If you experience hot flushes and night sweats as a result of the menopause, simple measures may sometimes help, such as:

    If the flushes and sweats are frequent or severe, your GP may suggest taking HRT.

    If HRT isn’t suitable for you, or you would prefer not to have it, your GP may recommend other medicines that can help, such as clonidine or certain antidepressants.

    These medicines can cause unpleasant side effects, so it’s important to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor before starting treatment.

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    Wild Yam: Alternative To Hormones

    Pills and creams made from certain species of wild yam are popular alternatives to hormone therapy for menopause. Some of the natural compounds in these yams appear similar to estrogen and progesterone, but it’s possible they are not active in people. So far, clinical studies have not found that they ease menopause symptoms.

    Treatments For Reducing Menopausal Hot Flushes Are Ranked For Effectiveness

    Hot flashes during menopause? How to relieve using reflexology and acupressure

    A combination of oestrogen and progestogen via patches is the best treatment for menopause symptoms. Other options may be less beneficial, including tablets combining oestrogen and progestogen, and non-hormonal treatments, isoflavones and black cohosh, though they may have other benefits. There is no evidence to support the use of antidepressants.

    Menopause affects womens personal life and work life, but many dont seek help from healthcare professionals. It is important to identify the most effective and safest treatment to help women in this transitional period.

    This review compared treatment options for the short-term management of hot flushes and night sweats in women aged 45 years or older who had not had a hysterectomy. The results have informed the NICE guideline on diagnosis and management of menopause.

    A notable limitation is the lack of evidence on short or long-term adverse effects, particularly for some of the non-drug treatments available.

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    Using Hormones To Treat Hot Flashes And Night Sweats

    Some women may choose to take hormones to treat their hot flashes or night sweats. A hormone is a chemical substance made by an organ like the thyroid gland or ovary. During the menopausal transition, the ovaries begin to work less effectively, and the production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone declines over time. It is believed that such changes cause hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.

    Hormone therapy steadies the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. It is a very effective treatment for hot flashes in women who are able to use it. They can also help with , , and maintaining bone density.

    Hormone treatments can take the form of pills, patches, rings, implants, gels, or creams. Patches, which stick to the skin, may be best for women with cardiac risk factors, such as a family history of heart disease.

    There are risks associated with taking hormones, including increased risk of , , blood clots, breast cancer, gallbladder disease, and . Women are encouraged to discuss the risks with their health care provider. The risks vary by a woman’s age and whether she has had a hysterectomy. Women who still have a uterus would take estrogen combined with progesterone or another therapy to protect the uterus. Progesterone is added to estrogen to protect the uterus against cancer, but it also seems to increase the risk of blood clots and stroke.

    When To See A Gp

    It’s worth talking to a GP if you have menopausal symptoms that are troubling you or if you’re experiencing symptoms of the menopause before 45 years of age.

    They can usually confirm whether you’re menopausal based on your symptoms, but a blood test to measure your hormone levels may be carried out if you’re under 45.

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    How Long Do Hot Flashes Last

    The intensity and frequency of hot flashes vary. Some people experience them multiple times a day, and others will only have the occasional hot flash. Hot flash episodes usually last anywhere from one to five minutes at a time.

    On average, hot flash symptoms last for seven or more years before and after menopause, though some people may have them for 10 years or longer.

    The time at which you first start having hot flashes may indicate how long youll get them. For example, research has found that people who had hot flashes before menopause experienced them for nearly 12 years, compared to people who had their first hot flash after menopause, who experienced them for three years, on average.

    What Is A Hot Flash

    Hot Flashes After Menopause

    It’s a sudden feeling of heat and sometimes a red, flushed face and sweating. We don’t know exactly what causes them, but they may be related to changes in circulation.

    Hot flashes start when blood vessels near the skin’s surface widen to cool off, making you break out in a sweat. Some women have a rapid heart rate or chills, too.

    When they happen while you sleep, they’re called night sweats. They can wake you up and may make it hard to get enough rest.

    A hot flush is a hot flash plus redness in your face and neck.

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    The Ovaries Stop Working

    Early menopause can happen naturally if a woman’s ovaries stop making normal levels of certain hormones, particularly the hormone oestrogen.

    This is sometimes called premature ovarian failure, or primary ovarian insufficiency.

    The cause of premature ovarian failure is often unknown, but in some women it may be caused by:

    • chromosome abnormalities such as in women with Turner syndrome
    • an autoimmune disease where the immune system starts attacking body tissues
    • certain infections, such as tuberculosis, malaria and mumps but this is very rare

    Premature ovarian failure can sometimes run in families. This might be the case if any of your relatives went through the menopause at a very young age .

    What Are The Implications

    This study was conducted to shed light on the best treatment for short-term management of menopausal flushes. It was part of the development for the 2015 NICE guideline on menopause. It has confirmed the better efficacy of the combination of oestrogen with progestogen via patches compared to alternatives.

    There is limited information on adverse effects. Separate publications will review treatment for women who have had a hysterectomy and for women at risk of, or with history of, breast cancer.

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    Supplements That Can Help With Hot Flashes & Insomnia

    Because our stress response is so linked to hot flash severity and insomnia I typically focus menopausal and postmenopausal women on natural foods and supplements that support adrenal health or that are adrenal adaptogens. What are those? Adrenal adaptogens counter stress harmful effects and have been shown to reduce symptoms such as hot flashes, and to improve libido and mood. They have also been found to reduce nervousness and interrupted sleep patterns.

    My favorite adrenal adaptogen is maca. You can learn much more about how maca can improve menopausal symptoms here. Many of my clients use it as a natural and safe alternative to estrogen hormone replacement therapy for reducing hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.

    For these reasons Ive used maca as the foundational nutrient in my Mighty Maca® Plus superfoods drink.

    My Mighty Maca® Plus Keto-Green superfoods drink contains maca and over 40 specifically chosen natural ingredients that nourish the adrenals, detoxify and help with alkalinity, too . Getting alkaline also helps get cortisol back at healthy levels and it resets our daily circadian rhythm .

    I also typically recommend progesterone to help with stress response, sleep and a calmer mood. I have an over-the-counter progesterone cream, Pura Balance PPR , that is a beautiful formulation. Vitamin E has also been associated in at least one study with a reduction in the severity of hot flashes.

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