Treatment of Hot Flashes

Updated at: Jan 17, 2013
Treatment of Hot Flashes

Treatment for hot flashes is not needed if the symptoms are not bothersome. Treatment options for hot flashes include self care measures (such as eating healthy, doing exercises regularly), hormone therapy (estrogen and progesterone), medications

Dr Poonam Sachdev
Women's HealthWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Feb 18, 2012

Hot flashes is not a disease, it is a symptom which many women experience during menopause years. If you don’t experience bothersome symptoms because of hot flashes then you may need no treatment at all. In most women hot flashes gradually decrease within a few years (even without treatment). However if the symptoms interfere with your life consult a doctor. Many effective treatments are available for management of hot flashes.

Treatment options for hot flashes include:

  • self care measures
  • hormone therapy
  • other medications such as antidepressants, gabapentin, clonidine
  • complementary and alternative treatments,
  • phytoestrogens,

Self care to improve symptoms of hot flashes:
Lifestyle changes that can probably help to improve symptoms of hot flashes and enhance your general well-being include:

  • Regular exercise: Do exercises regularly. Exercising for 20-30 minutes on most days of a week is considered adequate. It has many health benefits such as it reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, strengthen the bones and muscles, and helps to improve sleep and your overall health.
  • Quit smoking and decrease consumption of alcohol. These are good ways to improve your health, well being whatever the age or sex.
  • Sleep in cool environment: Sleeping in a cool environment and use of cotton bedclothes can help to reduce the discomfort caused by hot flashes and sweating at night.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight: Some research suggests that symptoms of perimenopause and menopause tend to be worse in overweight or obese women

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy with estrogen is the most effective treatment for hot flashes. But it can increase the risk of other certain health problems such as heart attack, stroke, endometrial cancer. Hormone therapy with estrogen and progesterone can help to relieve the symptoms of hot flashes by correcting the hormone levels. If you have had hysterectomy your doctor may prescribe estrogen alone. Progesterone is given along with oestrogen to women with uterus to protect against cancer of the uterus (endometrial cancer). According to current recommendations the lowest effective dose of the hormone (hormones) for the shortest amount of time needed to control symptoms will be prescribed. If you are risk of complications with estrogen replacement therapy then you may be prescribed progesterone alone to help control hot flashes.

Other medications

Antidepressants (such as Venlafaxine, Paroxetine, Fluoxetine), anti-seizure drugs (such as gabapentin) and clonidine may be helpful to improve symptoms of hot flashes.

  • Antidepressants: These are prescribed at the lowest possible dose for the shortest period of time. They are mostly given to women who cannot be given estrogen or progesterone as these medications aren't as effective as hormone therapy for controlling hot flashes.
  • Gabapentin: It has moderate effectiveness in reducing hot flashes. It is used mostly in women who have symptoms at night.
  • Clonidine: It is basically a medication to control blood pressure and may provide some relief from hot flashes.

Eat soy (phytoestrogens)

Include foods which have phytoestrogens such as soy and whole grains in your diet. Phytoestrogens possibly stimulate natural hormone production, thus maintain the estrogen levels in your body and reduce symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes.




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