Treatments for Hot Flashes
How to Alleviate Hot Flashes
Hot flashes can be sudden and uncomfortable, but you don’t need to suffer through them. A few slight adjustments to your diet, clothing, and daily habits can help you stay cool. Make sure to talk to your doctor, as there are many treatments available to help reduce the frequency and severity of your hot flashes.
Reducing Discomfort during Hot Flashes
Drink something cold when it first starts.If you feel the hot flash starting, get a cold drink, and sip it. This can help reduce your temperature and make you feel better. Avoid caffeinated drinks or alcohol, however, as these might worsen the hot flash.
Place something cold on your skin.Take a cold or frozen object, and place it directly onto your neck, armpit, or forehead. You can use an ice pack, or you can stick a blanket, washcloth, pillow, or eye mask in the freezer until you are ready to use it.
Splash cool water or spray thermal water on your face.Using a spray bottle, spritz cool water onto your face to help you cool down, or splash some cold water from a sink onto your brow and cheeks. Thermal spring water spray can cool down the heat on your face while hydrating and soothing your skin. You can also buy special hot flash relief sprays that will feel cold when you spray them onto your skin.
- If you're at home, try getting into a cold shower to cool down.
Take off layers of clothing.Wear light, loose layers of either cotton or linen clothing that you can easily remove when you start experiencing a hot flash. For example, you can wear a light tank top with a button-up shirt on top. When you start feeling hot, you can remove the shirt.
Turn on a fan.Keep small electric fans around the house and office. When you're feeling a hot flash, turn them on, and direct the air towards your face and body. If you have air conditioning, you can turn it on and sit in front of a vent for instant relief.
Breathe deeply to relax yourself.Panicking or worrying about the hot flash might make it feel worse. Instead, close your eyes. Breathe in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth. Do this for five minutes or until you have relaxed completely.
Treating Hot Flashes with Medication
Visit a doctor to get a prescription.Most western medical treatments of hot flashes require a prescription. Visit your doctor to discuss the best treatment plan for you. You can see a primary care doctor or your gynecologist.
Undergo hormone replacement therapy (HRT).HRT can be the most effective treatment for some women. Because of its side effects and potential risks, however, you and your doctor should carefully consider if it is the best treatment for you. To start HRT, you may be given estrogen or progesterone as a pill, patch, cream, gel, or vaginal ring.
- If your hot flashes are frequent or severe, if you have low bone density, or if you have had early menopause (before the age of 40), HRT may be the best treatment for you.
- Side effects and risks of HRT can include stroke, blood clots, heart disease, heart attacks, dementia, loss of urinary control (also known as urinary incontinence), gallbladder disease and an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Do not go on HRT if you have a history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, blood clots, or stroke.
Use gabapentin to reduce the severity of hot flashes.Gabapentin is typically used to treat seizures, but it can also reduce moderately hot flashes in women. If you are nervous about the risks of hormone replacement therapy, talk to your doctor to see if gabapentin will help instead.
- Side effects of gabapentin include dizziness, drowsiness, disorientation, and headaches.
Take an anti-depressant.Even if you do not have depression, a low dosage of an anti-depressant such as paroxetine (such as Brisdelle or Paxil), venlafaxine (Effexor XR or Pristiq), or fluoxetine (Prozac or Sarafem) may improve your hot flashes.
- Side effects of anti-depressants can include nausea, dizziness, weight gain, dry mouth, or problems with sexual arousal.
Try a clonidine patch to lower the frequency of hot flashes.Clonidine may be able to reduce the number of severe hot flashes that you experience. To take it, you will apply a patch to your skin daily. Side effects include dry mouth, constipation, drowsiness, and skin irritation.
Making Lifestyle Changes
Identify your triggers.Hot flashes can be triggered by smoking, caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol, tight clothing, heat, sugar, or stress. Not everyone has the same reactions to these triggers. It is important to identify what causes hot flashes for you so that you can avoid it.
- For example, if you notice that you get hot flashes after smoking, you may need to quit smoking.
- Keeping track of your hot flashes in a journal can help you learn your triggers. Write down when your hot flashes occur, as well as what you ate, drank, and did that day. You may notice a pattern over time.
Eat foods high in isoflavones.Isoflavones are a type of plant estrogen, and they may be able to help decrease hot flashes. Introduce some isoflavone-heavy foods into your diet. These include:
- Crushed flaxseed
- Stay hydrated throughout the day to reduce symptoms. Try to drink at least 9 cups (2.2 liters) of water a day. If that sounds like a lot at first, work up to it slowly drinking one extra glass of water per day until you reach your goal.
Decrease the temperature in your bedroom to relieve night sweats.Sleeping in a cool room will make you more comfortable at night. About twenty minutes before you go to bed, turn down the thermostat in your room. If you do not have A/C, you can turn on a fan instead.
- Using cotton or moisture-wicking bedsheets can also make you feel cool at night.
Avoid warm environments when you can.Keep your home and workplace as cool as comfortable with fans and windows. Have a small air conditioning unit installed in your home if a ceiling or desk fan isn’t cooling you enough.
- Consider your vacation destinations carefully; hot beach environments may aggravate your hot flashes and prevent you from enjoying the warm sand and water.
Try yoga and meditation.These calming, centering practices can help re-establish your body’s balance by affecting its neuro-hormonal pathways.
Try acupuncture to reduce discomfort.Acupuncture involves inserting sharp and thin needles into various parts of the body to relieve pain or discomfort. It may be able to reduce hot flashes in some women. Acupuncture can only be done by a professional, and multiple visits may be needed.
QuestionHow long does pre-menopause last?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe average length of perimenopause is 4 years, but for some women this stage may last only a few months or continue for 10 years. Perimenopause ends when a woman has gone 12 months without having her period.Thanks!
QuestionHow long does menopause last? I started in my mid-fifties with it.Community AnswerHot flashes can last for 7-10 years. Some unfortunate women (10%) will continue to have hot flashes for the rest of their lives.Thanks!
- Never stop taking medication prescribed to you without consulting your physician.
- Take medication only as directed to avoid increased health risks.
- While some women may find herbal supplements like black cohosh, ginseng, and dong quai helpful, more research needs to be done to figure out how effective they are.
- Vitamin E can increase the risk of heart failure and bleeding, and it may not actually help hot flashes. Talk to your doctor if you are considering taking Vitamin E supplements.
Video: Mayo Clinic Study May Help Cool Hot Flashes
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