Alternative Treatments for Hot Flashes - Treatments

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How are hot flashes usually treated?

Traditionally, hot flashes have been treated with oral (by mouth) or transdermal (patch) forms of estrogen. Hormone therapy (HT), also referred to as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or postmenopausal hormone therapy (PHT), consists of estrogens or a combination of estrogens and progesterone (progestin). Oral and transdermal estrogen are available as estrogen alone or estrogen combined with progesterone. Whether oral or transdermal, all available prescription estrogen replacement medications are effective in reducing hot flash frequency and severity.

However, long-term studies (NIH-sponsored Women's Health Initiative, or WHI) of women receiving oral preparations of 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 HT. 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.

The decision in regard to starting or continuing hormone therapy, therefore, is a very individual choice in which the patient and doctor must take into account the inherent risks and treatment benefits, plus 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.

Return to Alternative Treatments for Hot Flashes of Menopause

See what others are saying

Comment from: Cancer Patient, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: March 18

I am a 68-year-old male with early stage prostate cancer. After two months of the injection Lupron Depot, I was given 43 days of radiation therapy. One of the side effects of Lupron was night sweats and occasional daily sweating, lasting only a minute at a time. My oncologist asked me every week during my radiation what my biggest side effect was and I gave him the same answer every week for three weeks: uncontrollable sweating. He gave me nothing. During the fourth week, I returned to my urologist and told him my problem. He immediately prescribed Megace tablets twice a day. Within 24 hours my night sweats disappeared, and accordingly I will take it as long as I take Lupron Depot, which for me would last through my last Lupron shot or eight months.

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Comment from: Heather, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 22

I have purchased a mattress protector with Coolmax technology. It draws heat from the body, and it absolutely works. When I travel, I have to take a spare one with me or I still wake often at night as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) doesn"t handle it 100%. I use it in addition to HRT.

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