- Take the Menopause Quiz
- Menopause and Perimenopause Slideshow
- Osteoporosis Slideshow Pictures
- Patient Comments: Hot Flashes - Describe Your Experience
- Patient Comments: Hot Flashes - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Hot Flashes - Causes
- Patient Comments: Hot Flashes - Feel Like and Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Hot Flashes - Natural and Home Remedies
- Find a local Endocrinologist in your town
- Hot flash definition and facts
- What are hot flashes?
- How long do hot flashes last?
- What causes hot flashes?
- What do hot flashes feel like (symptoms)?
- How is the cause of hot flashes diagnosed?
- What are the treatments and remedies for hot flashes?
- Hormone therapy for hot flashes
- Bioidentical hormone therapy for hot flashes
- Other prescription drug treatments for hot flashes
- What natural and home remedies treat hot flashes?
- 1. Phytoestrogens for menopause symptoms
- 2. Black cohosh for hot flashes
- 3. Other vitamins and herbs for hot flashes
- Which specialties of doctors treat hot flashes?
- Can hot flashes be prevented?
Quick GuideMenopause & Perimenopause: Symptoms, Signs
Hormone therapy for hot flashes
Traditionally, hot flashes have been treated with either oral or transdermal (such as a patch) forms of estrogen. Hormone therapy (HT) or postmenopausal hormone therapy (PHT), formerly referred to as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), consists of estrogens alone or a combination of estrogens and progesterone (progestin). All available prescription estrogen medications, whether oral or transdermal, are effective in reducing the frequency of hot flashes and their severity. Research indicates that these medications decrease the frequency of hot flashes.
However, long-term studies (the NIH-sponsored Women's Health Initiative, or WHI) of women receiving combined hormone therapy with both estrogen and progesterone were halted when it was discovered that these women had an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer when compared with women who did not receive hormone therapy. Later studies of women taking estrogen therapy alone showed that estrogen was associated with an increased risk for stroke, but not for heart attack or breast cancer. Estrogen therapy alone, however, is associated with an increased risk of developing endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus) in postmenopausal women who have not had their uterus surgically removed.
More recently, it has been noted that the negative effects associated with hormone therapy were described in older women who were years beyond menopause, and some researchers have suggested that these negative outcomes might be lessened or prevented if hormone therapy was given to younger women (prior to or around the age of menopause) instead of women years beyond menopause.
The decision in regard to starting or continuing hormone therapy, therefore, is an individual one in which the patient and doctor must take into account the inherent risks and benefits of the treatment along with each woman's own medical history. It is currently recommended that if hormone therapy is used, it should be used at the smallest effective dose for the shortest possible time.