Friday, January 30, 2015

Treating Hot Flashes

From page A16 | November 04, 2012 |

By Michael Goodman, M.D.

Hot flashes are the most common bothersome symptom of menopause. Your hot flashes may occur during the day or at night (also known as night sweats). They may be mild and tolerable, moderate and troublesome, or severe and debilitating.

Hot flashes get better with time. While most women have hot flashes for a few years, some women have them for decades. It is not known why some women have severe hot flashes for many years, while others have no hot flashes, or mild ones that resolve quickly. If your hot flashes are mild or moderate, you may find relief by changing your lifestyle, or utilizing botanicals. If you have severe hot flashes, you may still benefit from lifestyle changes, but also may choose to take a nonprescription remedy or a prescription medication, including hormones.

Lifestyle changes: Researchers find that women with hot flashes have more sensitive thermostats in their brain, so are comfortable only in a small range of temperatures. Staying cool and reducing stress are the principal lifestyle changes to treat your hot flashes.

Avoid warm rooms, hot drinks, hot foods, alcohol, caffeine, excess stress and cigarette smoking. ”Layer” clothing.

To reduce stress and promote more restful sleep, exercise regularly, but not too close to bedtime. Meditation, yoga or tai chi, biofeedback, acupuncture, or massage also will lower your stress levels.

When a hot flash is starting, try “paced respiration” — slow, deep, abdominal breathing, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathe only 5-7 times per minute, much more slowly than usual.

Try different strategies to stay cool while sleeping. Dress in light, breathable nightclothes. Use layered bedding that can be easily removed during the night. Cool down with a bedside fan. Keep a frozen cold pack or bag of frozen peas under your pillow, and turn the pillow often so that your head is always resting on a cool surface. If you wake at night, sip cool water. Try different techniques for getting back to sleep, such as mediation, paced respiration, or getting out of bed and reading until you become sleepy.

Women who are overweight have more hot flashes, so follow a careful diet and exercise regularly to decrease bothersome hot flashes and improve your overall health.

Nonprescription remedies: Although many nonprescription remedies reduce hot flashes, it’s likely that this is due to the “placebo effect.” When nonprescription treatments are studied scientifically, they typically are as effective as a placebo. Even if relief is due to the placebo effect, you can expect your hot flashes to decrease by approximately 30% with most nonprescription remedies, such as soy or acupuncture.

Nonprescription products do not receive careful oversight from the government and generally are not studied carefully enough to know all potential risks and side effects, especially with long-term use. Consider purchasing products made in North America that follow good manufacturing practices.

Nonprescription options you may consider for hot flash relief include the following:

Soy: Eat one or two servings of soy foods daily (containing isoflavones). Low-fat varieties of tofu, tempeh, soymilk, or roasted soy nuts are good choices. Supplements containing soy isoflavones, such as Promensil, reduce hot flashes in some studies.

Herbs: Supplements containing certain herbs like black cohosh, such as Remifemin, decrease hot flashes in some studies.

Prescription therapies: The following prescription medications reduce hot flashes more than placebos in scientific studies.

Hormonal options: As hot flashes are “about estrogen” (or lack thereof), prescription hormone therapy with estrogen is the most effective treatment for hot flashes and the only government-approved treatment., Studies show that benefits often outweigh risks for healthy women under age 60 with moderate to severe hot flashes.

If it has not been a full year since your last period and you are a healthy nonsmoker, you may consider a combination estrogen-progestin birth control pill. This will provide contraception, hot flash relief, and regular periods.

Testosterone (a female hormone also!) can be helpful, especially relieving nighttime sweats, in women with lower testosterone levels. Make sure your doctor is savvy on which test to order (a “regular” testosterone test is worthless.

Nonhormonal options: When hormones are not an option, you may consider the following nonhormonal medications. They are more effective than placebos in scientific studies, though not as effective as hormone therapy.

Sleeping medications will not reduce your hot flashes but may help you sleep through them. Available both by prescription and nonprescription (such as Benadryl).

Certain drugs approved to treat depression reduce hot flashes in women without depression

Gabapentin (Neurontin) is a drug approved to treat epilepsy, migraine, and nerve pain, but it also reduces hot flashes And can help with sleep. It needs to be started slowly…

If in doubt or when you need specialized help, see a North American Menopause Society- Certified Menopause Practitioned (visit www.menopause .org for a list of practitioners near you!)



Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Town hall focuses on Coordinated Care Initiative

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

    Parents will get tools to help their children thrive in school

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Great Chefs Program will feature Mulvaney

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Free tax preparation service begins Monday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3Comments are off for this post

    No bare bottoms, thanks to CommuniCare’s Diaper Drive

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Still time to purchase tickets for DHS Cabaret

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Storyteller relies on nature as his subject on Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    All voices welcome at sing-along Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    February science fun set at Explorit

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Take a photo tour of Cuba at Flyway Nights talk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery



    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    A ‘new deal’ for the WPA building

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Protect root zone to save trees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Weigh quality of life, density

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Olive expert joins St. James event

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    We’re grateful for bingo proceeds

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10



    UCD has another tough football schedule in 2015

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Gould’s influence felt mightily in recent Super Bowls

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Mustangs hold off UCD women

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD men set new school D-I era win record

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Sharks double up Ducks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: Watney, Woods start slow at TPC Scottsdale

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    Recall that first Aggie TV game, national title?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery





    ‘Artist’s Connection’ launches on DCTV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    ‘Song of the Sea’ is an enchanting fable

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Gross’ paintings highlight a slice of Northern California

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

    February show at YoloArts’ Gallery 625 is ‘Food for Thought’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery







    Comics: Friday, January 30, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: A9