Sunday, March 1, 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.

  • .


    Sheriff: Mother ‘sole person responsible’ for infant’s death

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Rifle Team has a blast with competitive shooting

    By Savannah Holmes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Child abduction case in jury’s hands

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

    Pipeline project will soften water in 2016

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Pig out at Farmers Market’s Pig Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

    Weekend storm drops snow, rain, hail in California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Christie to Republicans: No rush to pick 2016 nominee

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Bob Dunning: Colon prep can be hard to swallow

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Scouts help fill STEAC’s pantry

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Still no parole in toddler case

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    City offers wetlands tour

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Parole denied in 1987 killing spree

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Explore Asia at Arboretum storytime

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    MU Games closing in late March

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Radio talk show moves to Mondays

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Assault awareness campaign kicks off

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    UCD student with meningococcal disease is recovering

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Young patients bond with special stuffies

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Diversity theater group continues creativity workshops

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    UCD student panel to cover anti-Semitism, Islamophobia

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Yolo Food Bank hosts thank-you breakfast on Pig Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9



    Milt Priggee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

    Rowing: PE as well as life skills

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Police complaint procedures drafted

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Clarifying energy update letter

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Weekly claw pickup necessary

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Mars or ISIS? Similar outcome

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    City may get charged up over energy choices

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Speak out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B5

    Design innovation centers for the 21st century

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

    A new perspective on life

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A7

    Distant water crisis has lessons for Davis

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

    Call for study to settle if anesthesia poses risk to babies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7



    Aggie men get a bounce-back win at Cal Poly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    The mystery continues: lowly Gauchos upset UCD women

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils get a soccer win despite finishing woes

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Winning close games is the key for DHS softballers

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: Razo throws well as Aggies get a baseball win

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Defending champion Blue Devils have diamond holes to fill

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Republic FC falls to storied New York Cosmos

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B10







    Yolo Federal Credit Union honored for supporting business education

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Online store will celebrate, mock People’s Republic of Davis

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A10 | Gallery





    Comics: Sunday, March 1, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8