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Menopause and Hot Flashes

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Are There Alternative Therapies to Relieve Hot Flashes?

Although some alternative therapies like botanical and herbal therapies have shown promise for relieving menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, more research is needed.

Because botanicals and herbs may have side effects or interact with other medications, it is important to talk to with your doctor before taking any of these products. Also, the manufacturing of these supplements is not regulated, leading to the possibility of taking too much or too little.

Botanicals and herbs that may help relieve hot flashes include:

  • Soy products. Plant estrogens, found in soy products, are thought to have weak estrogen-like effects that may reduce hot flashes. Soy foods, not supplements, are recommended.
  • Black cohosh. Some studies suggest that black cohosh may be helpful in the very short term (6 months or less) for treating hot flashes and night sweats. Side effects include gastrointestinal upset.
  • Evening primrose oil is another botanical that is often used to treat hot flashes, although there is no scientific evidence to support this. Side effects include nausea and diarrhea. Women taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, should not take evening primrose oil.
  • Flaxseed. Although there is no scientific evidence to support using flaxseed, it is thought to decrease the symptoms of menopause, particularly hot flashes. It's also known as linseed.

Be sure to talk to your doctor before you take any medications to relieve hot flashes. Also, keep in mind that your hot flashes may be temporary. You may be able to manage without any treatment.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD, FACOG on June 13, 2014
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