Hot Flash Relief Tips! - Ellen Dolgen

Hot Flash Relief Tips!

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.    

Be sure to sign up for my fun YouTube Videos!


34 thoughts on “Hot Flash Relief Tips!”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

          1. 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!

          2. 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!

          3. 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.

          4. 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!

          5. 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.

  5. I have found a great help to be amino acids. This study indicated some that are easily found in places like GNC,
    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.

  6. Thanks Elen for the article, very informative. I have heard that HRT can make more damage than good in the long run. I’m 45 and didn’t get my period since February. My hot flushes are terrible, coming like from the uterus, feeling sick for a moment and climbing up to to my head. It comes 2-3 times per day sometimes more.I read about “lady care” I’m planning to try it.It is stimulating and calming the nervous system and you can wear it in your panties. Anyone tried this before? I heard linseed are also good for hot flushes, have phytoestrogens.
    I had big problems with bloating and cramps and no doctor could find what’s wrong with me. I found out I’m intolerant to gluten, diary, mushrooms…I’ve changed my diet completely, gluten free, diary free, quit coffee etc. I must say my bloating and cramps have gone, lost some extra weight, I have more energy, my brain works better, I drink cocoa instead of coffee it’s full with magnesium and I eat more fats. My only problem is hot flushes and vaginal dryness. For the vaginal dryness recently I found and bought one Organic cream which is very helpful. It is completely natural and it feels worm in the beginning after you apply it and after like 20 min I go to my bed with my husband and it feels like when I was 20 years old. It goes deep in the tissue and moisturize the whole area. Contains Shea butter. coconut oil, stem sells of alpine rose, DHEA…
    And for loosing hair Oaktowgirl, I take Vit B complex for more than 10 years and I have new hear growing every year in the autumn (like my cat, hmm) Maybe you should check also thyroid for that. My TSH was high 4.45 and after I stopped with gluten after 3 months it was normal, only 2.0 !!! Good luck!!
    It would be nice to share more experiences ladies!!

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Elizabeth. I have not seen the science on either one of these products, so I could not endorse their safety or effectiveness. As for HRT, please read the new science and information so that you can base your decisions on facts instead of old information. Last week’s blog had some updates about Local Estrogen Therapy. Here is the blog:

      You can read more about hormone therapy here:

      As for Oaktowgirl —- I agree…………and also told her to def check her thyroid.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to help others!

  7. Wow this was so informative! I sent to my Mom and my Sister and they both said it was a great read! 🙂 Thank You for posting this article! I would like to introduce my website for those who are suffering from Hot Flashes and Night Sweats. I created this site in hopes of helping to provide the best products for sleep. Especially those who are going through Menopause, like my mom. I recently reviewed a Revolutionary Bed Fan…I hope you enjoy! 🙂

  8. I am 50 y/o. My period stopped 2 months ago and 1 month later,I started getting horrible hot flashes 1-2 per hour during a day and 3-4 per night. It is debilitating. OB Rx birth control pills. How long does it take to start seeing results in diminishing the hot flashes?

    1. Joanna, I am so sorry that you are dealing with this. There is no one size fits all solution or timing of success. You are not in menopause until you have been without a period for 12 consecutive months. Often our period stops for months at a time and then starts again. I am just mentioning this as you can get pregnant. Most women prefer to be on bioidentical hormone replacement. However, you would need additional birth control protection since you are only two months without a period so far. That is probably why your Gyn put you on birth control instead. I would give your new regime a month. If you are still having hot flashes go back and speak with your Gyn. Good Luck!

  9. I’m seriously about to loose my mind. I had a hysterectomy in 2013, then had a rectocele surgery in 2015. I was on hormone replacement for years but then we had to start changing them. I was having hot flashes so often and my libido was zero. I was also on an Antidepressant, a light nerve medicine, as well as blood pressure medicine. The nerve medicine helped the anxiety that I had from the horrible flashes somewhat but not entirely. I was still having hot flashes and no libido. The drs would say, use lube, more foreplay, or just do it and it will come back. No, it hasn’t. I finally stopped All the meds. They were costing a fortune and were not helping me. I’m on a low dose nerve medication still but I’m going nuts. It has really gotten where I fear my husband will leave or step out on me.
    I had a few years after each of my children were born where I also had loss of desire. I don’t know if my hormones have just been so crazy or what. I used to be so active and enjoyed sex so much.
    Between the hot flashes that come all day every day and having no desire at all to be intimate, I am at my wit’s end.
    I feel like I’m going to go crazy. I really wish that drs would take me more serious. They never have because my issues started while I was young. Before the age of 30. I am now 46 and I have had enough. My spouse and I split up and I wondered if it there was a problem between us,(which i knew there wasn’t) but I did try to date a man. I felt nothing although I was also very attracted to him. I tried once again with no luck. My husband and I got back together because that is where we both wanted to be. I would just love to be able to desire him even a little. My mind wants what my lady’s parts don’t. I’m broken. I feel like I am nothing and no good. I am tired of hurting him because he doesn’t really understand and thinks it is him. It isn’t him. It is me

    1. Chrissy, I am so sorry you have gone through such a horrific time. Most women find that they need hormone replacement immediately after a hysterectomy as you are thrown into menopause so suddenly from this surgery that is can be devastating both emotionally and physically. If feel like you have not found a great Menopause Specialist yet. Where do you live?

      1. I live in North Alabama. Im sorry it took so long to reply.
        I was originally on Estradiol. (Spelling?) It seemed to work for maybe a year. Then they put me on premarin pills and cream, and one i cannot think of the name of right now.
        I was mailed a packet from a pharmacy to send back in to try bioidenticals as soon as i can afford it. My dr said i needed to have everything checked and maybe they can make something specially formulated for my body.
        I read that many times those bioidenticals are a waste of money though. That they are not FDA approved. I have had medication mixed for leg cramps and it didn’t phase that pain.
        I really hate to spend $250 on a test and then another however much for the medicine if it isn’t going to work. I guess i should really. It might just work.
        At this point if something doesn’t work i don’t know what i will do.
        It consumes me. It controls my life.
        I am at the point where i am just so tired of it. It never stops.

        1. Chrissy, many women are on FDA approved bioidentical hormones (such as Minivelle Estradiol transdermal patch and oral Prometrium) and find that the dark cloud is lifted and they feel like themselves again. The important key is to find a trained Menopause Specialist to create an individual protocol that works for your personal health needs. I always say the proof is in the end result. Are you feeling better? If not , it is time to find another doctor. Use this link Put in AL under state or enter you zip code. Start with 20 mile radius -if no one comes up in your area – select 50 mile. Good Luck!

  10. I have hot flashes all day, every day. Every hour of the day, so many I don’t even count them. I have been on thyroid meds as well. They didn’t help and ive been taken off of them. I’m loosing my mind

  11. I am still having regular periods but my hot flashes are increasing, not to mention fatigue, aches and pains, insomnia and the newest insult–heart palpitations! What really is getting me is I find over the past few months that after my period has ended (normally a time of the month that I feel pretty good), I feel incredibly down and depressed for no reason. I am taking a SSRI (sertraline) and herbal supplements, and have been doing so for about a year now. I plan to see a physician about my palpitations if they don’t go away. But the depression! It just knocks me flat and leaves me with no desire to really talk to anyone or do anything. Has anyone else had this happen? If so, I’d love some recommendations on how to improve my mood.

    1. Amy, it is so important to be sure that you are seeing a trained Menopause Specialist. As I told Chrissy256,m any women are on FDA approved bioidentical hormones (such as Minivelle Estradiol transdermal patch and oral Prometrium) and find that the dark cloud is lifted and they feel like themselves again. The important key is to find a trained Menopause Specialist to create an individual protocol that works for your personal health needs. I always say the proof is in the end result. Are you feeling better? If not , it is time to find another doctor. Use this link Put in the two letter abbreviation of your state or enter you zip code. Start with 20 mile radius -if no one comes up in your area – select 50 mile. A trained Menopause Specialist can help you the depression and evaluate your heart palpitations to see if they are hormone related or something else is going on. Download my free Menopause Symptoms Chart and start charting your symptoms. You will find all of the symptoms above on this chart as other women are experiencing them, too. You are not alone. Bring this filled out chart in with you when you go to your Menopause Specialist. It will help you quickly and accurately describe how you are feeling to your specialist. Good Luck!

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