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Managing Hot Flashes

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Gynaecology, Learning Centre, Menopause

Managing Hot Flashes

Weight Loss

Women who are overweight or obese tend to report greater discomfort from hot flashes and several studies have confirmed that losing weight helps lower the intensity of hot flashes. BioConnect has worked very hard to bring the world’s best weight-loss solutions to Barbados. Options include:

We have also partnered with Barbados’s best sports and lifestyle coaches who can help you take real steps towards a new you.

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy and, to a lesser extent, clinical hypnosis have been shown to be effective in reducing hot flashes. There is also growing evidence that mindfulness-based stress reduction can reduce the severity of hot flashes. Meditation, relaxation, deep breathing, and yoga might be helpful for some people, but study results have been inconsistent; however, these approaches are not likely to be harmful and may have other benefits. Acupuncture has also not been proven to reduce hot flashes, although some people find them helpful (possibly due to a placebo effect). 

Medication

Antidepressant Medication can play a significant role to treat hot flashes for people who cannot take estrogen:

SSRIs

  • Selective serotonin receptor inhibitors (SSRIs) are the class of antidepressants used most commonly for treating hot flashes. A form of paroxetine (sample brand name: Brisdelle) is an SSRI and is the only non-hormone therapy that is specifically approved for hot flashes in the United States. This medication has been used for many years for treating depression but can be taken at a lower dose for hot flashes. This drug though has a strong limitation since it cannot be taken by women with breast cancer who are taking a drug called tamoxifen as it can interfere with it. Although not formally approved for hot flashes, other SSRIs such as citalopram (brand name: Celexa) or escitalopram (brand name: Lexapro) can also relieve patients from hot flashes to similar degrees as is seen with paroxetine. 
  • Other antidepressants that are similar to SSRIs such as venlafaxine (brand name: Effexor) and desvenlafaxine (brand name: Pristiq) also reduce hot flashes, but they tend to have more side effects than the SSRIs.
  • Fluoxetine (brand name: Prozac) and Sertraline (brand name: Zoloft) do not work as well as the other antidepressants listed.
  • Gabapentin (sample brand name: Neurontin) is a medication that was developed to treat seizures. It also relieves hot flashes in some people. It may be taken as a single bedtime dose (if hot flashes are most bothersome at night) or can also be taken during the daytime.
  • Oxybutynin is a drug that is usually used to treat overactive bladder and urinary incontinence. It also has been demonstrated to be effective in treating hot flashes. The most bothersome side effect is dry mouth.

Herbal Treatments

A number of herbal treatments have been promoted as a natural remedy for hot flashes. Many people use black cohosh for hot flashes, but clinical trials have shown that it is not more effective than a placebo. There have been concerns that black cohosh could stimulate breast tissue like estrogen, increasing the risk of recurrence in people who have had breast cancer. However, there is no convincing evidence that it is harmful, even in people with breast cancer. Still, some experts suggest that people with breast cancer avoid black cohosh until this has been studied more extensively. Herbal treatments in general are not recommended for hot flashes or other menopausal symptoms.

There is quite a bit of evidence that soy products can alleviate hot flashes but the degree of relief provided varies widely. There is early evidence that a 10-milligram S-equol supplement taken twice a day may control hot flashes with no harmful side effects. However, more studies are needed to better determine its effectiveness. Because of the effect on estrogen receptors, it is generally not recommended in women with a history of breast cancer.

Isoflavones and Phytoestrogens

These are present in various foods including soy, flax seeds, lentils and oats. The results of taking these as a supplement to improve menopausal symptoms are very varied and the risks of taking these are still unknown. They are generally not recommended in women with a history of breast cancer. They are natural, as well as BHRT, but still hormones!

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Antidepressant, Herbal Treatments, Hot flashes, Learning Centre, Medication, SSRIs, Weight Loss

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BioConnect Medical Centre in Barbados is the Caribbean’s first and only clinic specifically dedicated to women transitioning through the menopause, perimenopause and post-menopause. We are here to do this stage of your life with you through a combination of medical, aesthetic and wellness solutions.

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