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    Menopause: Managing Hot Flashes

    Most women have hot flashes at some point before or after menopause. Hot flashes happen when estrogen levels drop. While some women have few to no hot flashes, others have them many times each day.

    Hot flashes can be uncomfortable and upsetting. They can lower the quality of your sleep and daily life. But they aren't a sign of a medical problem. They are a normal response to natural changes in your body.

    Hot flashes usually get better or go away after the first or second year after menopause. At that point, estrogen levels usually stay at a low level.

    You can make some lifestyle changes to reduce your hot flashes. And if those don't help, you may want to try medical treatment.

    • Avoid using tobacco or drinking a lot of alcohol. They tend to make hot flashes worse.
    • Manage stress. Stress can make hot flashes worse.
    • Exercise regularly, and eat a healthy diet.
    • Try rhythmic breathing exercises. This is called paced respiration. It can help you meditate and relax, and it may reduce your hot flashes.

    You also can talk to your doctor about treatments that may either reduce or stop your hot flashes. These include taking low-dose estrogen (hormone therapy) for a short time, taking certain medicines, and taking the herb black cohosh.

    how.gif  How can I manage hot flashes?

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    Citations

    1. North American Menopause Society (2012). The 2012 hormone therapy position statement of the North American Menopause Society. Menopause, 19(3): 257–271. Also available online: http://www.menopause.org/PSht12.pdf.

    2. Shifren JL, et al. (2010). Role of hormone therapy in the management of menopause. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 115(4): 839–855.

    3. Burbos N, Morris EP (2011). Menopausal symptoms, search date June 2010. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.

    4. North American Menopause Society (2011). The role of soy isoflavones in menopausal health: Report of the North American Menopause Society. Menopause, 18(7): 732–753.

    Other Works Consulted

    • U.S. Preventive Services Task Force 2012. Menopausal Hormone Therapy for the Primary Prevention of Chronic Conditions: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf12/menohrt/menohrtfinalrs.pdf.

    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
    Specialist Medical ReviewerCarla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine

    Current as ofAugust 7, 2014

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 07, 2014
    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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