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.
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.
You can manage hot flashes by making certain lifestyle choices. You can also take daily medicine. Some measures help prevent or reduce hot flashes. Others can make you more comfortable when you're having a hot flash.
Health Canada (2008). Drugs and health products: Black cohosh. Health Canada. http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=44. Accessed January 31, 2014.
North American Menopause Society (2012). The 2012 hormone therapy position statement of the North American Menopause Society. Menopause, 19(3): 257-271. http://www.menopause.org/docs/default-document-library/psht12.pdf?sfvrsn=2. Accessed August 27, 2015.
North American Menopause Society (2015). The North American Menopause Society statement on continuing use of systemic hormone therapy after age 65. Menopause, 22(7): 693. http://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/2015/2015-nams-hormone-therapy-after-age-65.pdf. Accessed August 24, 2015.
Shifren JL, et al. (2010). Role of hormone therapy in the management of menopause. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 115(4): 839-855.
Burbos N, Morris EP (2011). Menopausal symptoms, search date June 2010. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
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
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (2009). Menopause and osteoporosis update 2009. SOGC Clinical Practice Guidelines, No. 222.Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 31(1): S1-S46.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerCarla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Current as ofOctober 13, 2016
Current as of: October 13, 2016
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
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