Hot Flash Relief Tips!

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An estimated 75% of postmenopausal women experience hot flashes. Between 60%-80% of patients with breast cancer suffer from them due to chemotherapy or estrogen stripping medications. Hot flashes can last an average of seven years and many women even continue flashing longer.

Menopausal women can be a very hot group! Your days and nights may involve lots of sweat sessions and hot flushes.  This is only temporary.  Trust me, there are dripless days in your future.

First and foremost, make sure you have a wonderful Menopause Specialist who will help develop an individual program for you that fits your personal health needs. If you don’t have Menopause Specialist, I have some helpful tips on how to find one here.

Hormone therapy (HT) is the most effective treatment for hot flashes (VMS vasomotor symptoms) according to the 2017 North American Menopause Statement on hormone therapy. Hormone therapy, also, is the most effective treatment for vaginal symptoms called, genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM).  I know, these names are awful!  Symptoms for GSM may include genital dryness, burning, and irritation. You can experience uncomfortable sexual symptoms from the diminished lubrication and pain such as urinary urgency, painful urination, and recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs).

It is important to note that hormone therapy has been shown to prevent bone loss and fracture, too.

Here are some other key points from the 2017 NAMS statement about HT:

“Ongoing use of systemic HT (pills, patches, etc) by healthy women who initiated therapy within 10 years of menopause onset and without new health risks likely has a safety profile more favorable than that for women initiating HT when aged older than 65 years, although limited long-duration data are available.

Hormone therapy does not need to be routinely discontinued in women aged older than 60 or 65 years and can be considered for continuation beyond age 65 years for persistent VMS (hot flashes), QOL (Quality of life) issues, or prevention of osteoporosis after appropriate evaluation and counseling of benefits and risks. Annual reevaluation, including reviewing comorbidities and periodic trials of lowering or discontinuing HT or changing to potentially safer low-dose transdermal routes, should be considered.”

Sadly, many women are needlessly suffering from hot flashes and insomnia from night sweats, but have the improperly reported info from the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative still playing repeatedly over and over again in their brain.  They are still fearful that the risks don’t outweigh the benefits for HT. Please speak to your Menopause Specialist so you can be informed of the updated information on HT.  It is so much better to base your healthcare decisions on fact instead of fear.

If you are a cancer survivor, of course,  your options may lean toward non-estrogen based therapy. However, for GSM (vaginal symptoms), the latest 2017 NAMS statement recommends low-dose vaginal estrogen in consultation with your oncologist.

Here are a helpful list non-hormonal options to discuss with your Menopause Specialist:

In the meantime, there are things that you can try on your own such as:

  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction – I meditate 20 min each morning. It calms and centers me. I highly recommend it!
  • Over the counter supplements and herbal therapies such as black cohosh may be helpful. Remifemin was mentioned by the Oncologist’s from Yale in my blog on menopause and cancer.
  • Weight Loss – Helps with everything. Remember that excess belly fat can increase the cancer risk in older women.
  • S-Equol- an intestinal bacterial metabolite of the soybean isoflavone daidzein
  • Exercise -Is good for our overall health.
  • Smoking – No butts about it- just quit!
  • Cut back on your alcohol, coffee, and spicy foods – do one at a time so that you know what works and what doesn’t.
  • Acupuncture – Some women tell me that it helps them. If your acupuncturist also gives you a handful of herbs to take, be sure to ask your acupuncturist to give you a list of what is in those herbs.  Run that list by your Menopause Specialist BEFORE taking them.
  • Dress for a hot flash – Dress in loose layers so that you can easily peel off a layer or two when you start flashing. It’s always best to stick with breathable fabrics such as cotton.

Remember:  Suffering in silence is OUT!  Reaching out is IN.

For more great tips on how to find a menopause specialist and deal with menopause, download my free eBook: MENOPAUSE MONDAYS  the Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving During Perimenopause and Menopause.    

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After struggling with her own severe menopause symptoms and doing years of research, Ellen resolved to share what she learned from experts and her own trial and error. Her goal was to replace the confusion, embarrassment, and symptoms millions of women go through–before, during, and after menopause–with the medically sound solutions she discovered. Her passion to become a “sister” and confidant to all women fueled Ellen’s first book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of the overwhelming response from her burgeoning audiences and followers’ requests for empowering information they could trust, Ellen’s weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM, was born.

  • Cathy Chester

    As always your post if filled with useful information for women our age. I know who to turn to when I need help – YOU! Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge, Ellen. Nice to know we have so many options to lean on.

    • Thanks, Cathy. It is important to know that you do not have to suffer in silence. There are oodles of options to try!

  • Lois Alter Mark

    So much great information here, as always. I’m so glad I never really experienced hot flashes but I’m going to share this with my friends who will be grateful for solutions.

    • You are so fortunate, Lois! How wonderful that you got to skip the dripping. Thanks for sharing the tips with your friends!

  • Great points Ellen, great resource! There are many options that take time to see if it works for you. Not one remedy is right for every person. Of course my sleepwear collection is moisture wicking great for women with lingering night sweats! http://www.haralee.com

    • Definitely, your collection is a wonderful addition to a women’s hot flash program!

  • Toni McCloe

    There are some great tips there and a lot of wisdom, too. I especially like that you recommended meditation. It helps with everything.

    • I think meditation has been one of the greatest positive decisions I have made for my health, Toni!

  • OaktownGirl

    Seeking advice! I do not have a menopause specialist yet (still looking – limited options w/ HMO health plans). I finally got crippling hot flash relief with PremPro 0.625/2.5mg. But horrible side effect: my hair is falling out like I’m on chemotherapy! I’ve only been on it 3.5 weeks. Great hot flash results; quickly going bald (not exaggerating).
    Until I can find/afford a menopause specialist and get bio-identical, is there any other alternative to Prempro out there that is folks know of that less damaging to scalp hair? I have a doctor’s appt. tomorrow (sorry for the short notice, just got the appt. today). Thank you so much in advance.

    • So sorry to hear you are going through this. If you are going to your doctor today, speak to him about your hair loss! Def have your thyroid checked, too. A thyroid imbalance can result in hair loss. Speak to your doctor about his/her thoughts on seeing what happens if you switch your HT to a FDA approved bioidentical estradial patch and a progesterone pill like Prometrium would be potentially better for you.

      • OaktownGirl

        Thank you so much, Ellen!

        • Good Luck and keep me posted!

          • OaktownGirl

            Hi Ellen. The appointment went pretty well; moving on the right track I think. I’m seeing a woman PA. We are reducing my dosage of Prempro – a little higher than the lowest dose which didn’t even touch the hot flashes, but lower than what I was on. And she’s given me an Rx for bio-identical hormone saliva testing. She knows a good pharmacy and excellent pharmacist within driving distance of me (a pharmacist she herself has used and likes very much). Now we just have to go through the pre-auth process with my HMO insurance for the testing. Fingers crossed. If they won’t cover it, hopefully it’s not so expensive that I can’t pay out of pocket.

            Any thoughts you or others might have are most welcome. Thanks again!

          • You are already on hormones, so a hormone test will not be accurate. Seems silly. Your doctor needs to explain to your insurance that the Prempro is not working for you and request them to cover Bioidentical FDA approved patch and oral progesterone. It is worth a try!

          • OaktownGirl

            The PA said I would probably have to be off the hormones for a while before the test. Are the bioidentical patches you are talking about estrogen-only? I don’t thinks she knows about those. She said everything was a a combo, which is why she didn’t give me a different medication, said they were all going to work the same as Prempro.

          • Everything is not a combo. I am concerned that this doctor may not be up on the latest information and what is available.
            You can get a prescription for and FDA approved estradiol patch such -Minivelle Estradiol transdermal patch and an FDA approved progesterone pill, called Prometrium. She does not need to test you for this. You have already been on hormone therapy. This would just be changing your therapy to bioidentical hormones that are made to be exactly what your body makes. Prempro is not bioidentical and is not made to be exactly what your body makes. All hormones are not equal. Download my free eBook, MENOPAUSE MONDAYS The Girlfriends Guide to Surviving and Thriving During Perimenopause and Menopause and read about hormone therapy. Also, be sure to read Chapter 13 on how to find a Menopause Specialist. Many of these doctors are covered by insurance. You will get better results if you are going to the right doctor! I can’t stress this enough! Here is a link to the free eBook. Educate yourself so that you can ask the right questions and demand the right help! http://ellendolgen.com/menopause-book/

          • OaktownGirl

            Thanks Ellen, I do have the ebook and I have read the hormone chapter. I’m sure my PA’s not up on the latest, and I let the discussion end when she mentioned saliva testing because I thought that was a good thing. Having trouble finding a menopause specialist in my area who takes my HMO insurance. I will move this convo over to email.

          • Yes, email me at ellendolgen@ellendolgen.com.

  • I will share this with others who are experiencing symptoms. Great info.

  • frogsmile

    I have found a great help to be amino acids. This study indicated some that are easily found in places like GNC,
    http://www.aminoacid-studies.com/areas-of-use/menopause.html
    along with magnesium and potassium, I have found that my panic attacks have disappeared, and my heart palpitations and hot flashes are greatly reduced in number and severity. Check it out. Pharmaceuticals aren’t always the best answer, are expensive, and their side effects can be daunting.
    ps, I have heard that primrose oil is very effective too.

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