Natural remedies for hot flashes have not been well studied
BY DR. KOMOROFF Universal Uclick
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
2/05/13 at 4:11 AM
Dear Doctor K: I'm having menopausal hot flashes, but I don't want to take hormone therapy. Can you tell me about natural remedies?
Dear Reader: Natural remedies can help for hot flashes, but hormone therapy is helpful more often.
Traditional medicines that can help include drugs that relax blood vessels as well as certain antidepressants.
Several herbal remedies claim to help prevent or treat hot flashes, but most have not been well studied. There is some evidence that the herb black cohosh may be effective.
You can take steps to help make hot flashes less severe or less frequent:
The most effective medication for hot flashes is the hormone estrogen. If you're 60 or over, or are 10 years past entering menopause, I would stay away from hormone therapy. I think it does increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Drink a glass of cool water at the beginning of a hot flash.
- Drink six to eight glasses of water per day.
- Plunge your hands in cold water and pat it on your face, neck and chest when a hot flash starts.
- Begin deep-breathing exercises at the beginning of a hot flash to help nip it in the bud.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Cut down on red wine, chocolate and aged cheeses. They contain a chemical that can trigger hot flashes.
- Don't smoke. Smoking can make hot flashes worse.
- Wear loose, comfortable cotton clothing.
- Dress in layers. Remove some clothing if you suddenly feel hot.
- Keep your house cool. At work, open a window or use a small portable fan.
- At night, use lightweight blankets that can be removed.
- Engage in regular vigorous exercise.
However, if you are entering menopause - which typically occurs in a woman's late 40s or early 50s - hormone therapy taken to relieve hot flashes may actually protect you from heart disease.
Write Dr. K at www.AskDoctorK.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106