Hot Flash Treatment

Written by Sarah Provost
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Hot flash treatment ranges from thousand-year-old recipes for roots and berries to synthetic hormones from the modern laboratory. The hot flash treatment of choice for many years was hormone replacement therapy, which kept the levels of estrogen at or near the premenopausal level. In recent years there has been an upsurge of interest in alternative treatments, since the incidence of serious side effects from estrogen therapy can be considerable.

One method of hot flash treatment is to increase the intake of soy and soy products. Soy contains a substance known as phytoestrogen. This is a plant product that mimics the action of human estrogen in the body. Dong quai, a Chinese herb, also contains phytoestrogen and can be used to alleviate hot flashes.

For women who have breast cancer or are otherwise unable to tolerate estrogen or phytoestrogens, recent research has shown that low dosages of the drug Effexor, an antidepressant, will reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes. The usual dosage is half that recommended for depression, and a 60% decrease in hot flashes was reported. More research is needed to see if other types of antidepressants have the same effect.

Lifestyle Changes for Hot Flash Treatment

Stress is one of the primary causes of hot flashes, so stress reduction is of great importance. Moderate exercise is an excellent way to reduce your stress level, and will also help with the insomnia that often results from nighttime hot flashes. Massage, meditation and yoga are also good means of reducing stress. Limit your intake of spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine. It's also important to remember that though they may be annoying, hot flashes are harmless and last, on the average, four minutes or less. Treating hot flashes with acceptance rather than resistance is one of the best ways to keep them under control.

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