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Sweats and Hot Flashes

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Claims are made about several other plant-based and natural products as remedies for hot flashes. Since little is known about how they work or whether they affect the risk of breast cancer, women should be cautious about using these products, including dong quai, milk thistle, red clover, licorice root extract, and chaste tree berry.

Treatment of hot flashes in men who have been treated for prostate cancer may include estrogens, progesterone, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants. Certain hormones (such as estrogen) can make some cancers grow. The effect of hormone use on the growth of prostate cancer is being studied.

Side effects of antidepressants used to treat hot flashes over a short period of time are minor, including nausea, drowsiness, dry mouth, and changes in appetite. Side effects of anticonvulsants used to treat hot flashes include drowsiness, dizziness, and trouble concentrating. Side effects of clonidine include dry mouth, drowsiness, constipation, and insomnia.

If one medication does not improve symptoms, switching to another medication may be helpful.

General Treatments to Relieve Symptoms

Comfort measures are used for general treatment of cancer-related sweats. Since body temperature goes up before a hot flash, the following ways may control body temperature and help manage symptoms:

  • Wear loose-fitting clothes.
  • Use fans and open windows to keep air moving.
  • Learn relaxation training and slow, deep breathing.
  • Use self-hypnosis.
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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: October 07, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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