You probably can’t avoid hot flashes during menopause, but there are things that may bring them on more often or cause them to be more severe. To prevent hot flashes, avoid the following triggers: Stress, caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, tight Other things you can do to keep hot flashes at bay include:
- Stay cool. Keep your bedroom cool at night. Use fans during the day. Wear light layers of clothes with natural fibers such as cotton.
- Try deep, slow abdominal breathing (six to eight breaths per minute). Practice deep breathing for 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening and at the onset of hot flashes.
- Exercise daily. Walking, swimming, dancing, and bicycling are all good choices.
- Try chill pillows. Cooler pillows to lay your head on at night might be helpful.
Talk to your doctor about taking hormone replacement therapy. This treatment prevents hot flashes in many women. Plus, it can help other symptoms of menopause, including vaginal dryness and mood disorders. Keep in mind that when you stop taking HRT, the hot flashes may come back. Short-term HRT carries some risks, including blood clots, breast cancer, and gallbladder inflammation. If HRT is not right for you, there are other treatments that may offer relief. Nonprescription treatments include:
A number of herbal treatments have been promoted as a “natural” remedy for hot flashes. In fact, many postmenopausal women use black cohosh for hot flashes, but clinical trials have shown that it is not more effective than a placebo. Herbal treatments are not recommended for hot flashes or other menopausal symptoms. However, if you are taking herbal treatments and your symptoms are relieved by this treatment, then no one will be happier than me. There is a new medication that is sold over the counter for hot flashes that is a Swedish flower pollen extract. The pollen allergens have been removed, and, it is grown without pesticides. There are clinical studies that show the effectiveness of this medication. You can read about this at www.relizen.com or on Facebook at Facebook.com/RelizenMenopause. You can also call Relizen toll-free at 1-855-RELIZEN to order the pills over the phone.
There are several prescription medications to treat hot flashes. The most effective treatment is estrogen replacement therapy (estrogen/progesterone replacement therapy if you still have a uterus). Low dose anti-depressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), or venlafaxine (Effexor). Some women respond to Clonidine which is a blood pressure medication that has been found to help in certain cases. An anti-seizure drug called Gabapentin helps some women, and Duavee is a new drug that combines conjugated estrogens with bazedoxifene. Your healthcare provider can help you with these decisions.