Non Hormonal Treatment of Hot Flashes
Dr. Fleming recommends you start by eating a healthy diet, exercising and practicing good sleep habits. The following suggestions may be helpful for those women with mild hot flashes:
Keep cool – Slight increases in your body’s core temperature can trigger hot flashes. Dress in layers so that you can remove clothing when you feel warm. Keep bedroom cool at night with opening windows, fan or air conditioner. Have layers of bedding you can remove. If you feel a hot flash coming, sip on a cold drink.
Watch what you eat and drink – Hot and spicy foods, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol can trigger hot flashes. You may consider keeping a diary of your hot flashes in order to recognize triggers, which you can then avoid.
Relax – Meditation, slow, deep breathing, or other stress-reducing techniques is helpful to some women
Don’t smoke – Smoking increases the likelihood and severity of hot flashes and may be due to changes in estrogen metabolism. By quitting smoking, you may reduce hot flashes, as well as your risk of many serious health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Lose weight – Being overweight or obese also increases the likelihood and severity of hot flashes. Losing weight might help ease your hot flashes, as well as reduce your risk of many serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Hypnosis – Some research indicates that hypnosis might help relieve hot flashes, improve sleep, and may have lasting effects for weeks.
Mindfulness meditation – This type of meditation entails your focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. The practice may utilize breathing methods, guided imagery, and other methods of relaxing the body and mind in order to help reduce stress. Although not shown to relieve hot flashes, it might reduce how much they bother you, and there may also be other benefits such as improved sleep and reduced anxiety.
Acupuncture – While some studies show a reduction of the frequency and severity of hot flashes, results are conflicting as there is a similar benefit with the placebo or control group (group with no acupuncture) in many studies. While the results may be due to the placebo effect, there’s likely no harm in trying it.
Cognitive behavioral therapy – Some evidence indicates that this type of talk therapy (psychotherapy) might help you cope better with hot flashes.
Dietary supplements – Although considered “natural” products, please note some of these supplements may have potentially harmful side effects, and may also interact with medications you’re taking for other medical conditions.
*** Always review what you’re taking, including NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS, with your doctor ***
Plant estrogens/soy – Although Asian women who consume soy regularly are less likely to report menopause symptoms than women in other parts of the world, studies to date have found little or no benefit with soy. There are currently, however, studies that are still ongoing.
Black Cohosh – There is no strong evidence showing black cohosh’s benefit for hot flashes and it may be harmful to the liver in rare circumstances. For these reasons, Dr. Fleming does not recommend Black Cohosh for her patients.
Ginseng – While ginseng may help with mood symptoms and insomnia, it has not been shown to reduce hot flashes.
Dong Quai – Studies show Dong Quai is NOT effective for hot flashes and can cause bleeding problems in patients taking blood-thinning medications.
Vitamin E- Taking a vitamin E supplement might offer some relief from mild hot flashes. In high doses, it can increase your risk of bleeding.
Prescription medications such as antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs also might help reduce moderate to severe hot flashes, although they are less effective than hormones.
Antidepressants – A low-dose form of paroxetine (Brisdelle) is the only nonhormone treatment for hot flashes approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Other antidepressants that have been used to treat hot flashes include Venlafaxine (Effexor XR), Paroxetine (Paxil), and Fluoxetine (Prozac). Possible side effects include nausea, dizziness, weight gain, dry mouth or sexual dysfunction.
Gabapentin (Neurontin) – An anti-seizure medication that’s moderately effective in reducing hot flashes. Side effects can include drowsiness, dizziness, and headaches. Often works well for sleep issues related to menopause.
Clonidine (Catapres) – Clonidine, a pill or patch typically used to treat high blood pressure, might provide some relief from hot flashes. Side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, and constipation.
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