Hot flashes are the most common symptom reported during menopause. They are a sudden rush of heat to the face, neck, and chest. As they dissipate, you may sweat and get chilled. Hot flashes can start in the years before menopause, and last well into and after it. Some women report the severity to be minimal, while others have ones that affect their daily lives and sleep. The good news is you don’t have to live with hot flashes. Let’s explore the currently available options and when it is best to seek treatment.
Deciding if Treatment is Right for You
On average, women experience hot flashes from 6 months to 2 years, though some can last substantially longer. Not all women who experience hot flashes need treatment, but for those who do, knowing the options and possible risks can help you make an informed decision. If your hot flashes are easily tolerated, you may choose not to seek treatment. If your hot flashes are bothersome, there are treatment options that can significantly reduce symptoms.
Hormonal and Non-Hormonal Hot Flash Treatment Options
There are two FDA approved hot flash-specific treatments. One is hormone therapy, and the other is Brisdelle (which is also an antidepressant). Additional options are available that have been approved to treat other medical conditions but are also known to be effective against hot flashes.
As with any treatment, family history and certain medical conditions need to be weighed against the possible risks and benefits. Your doctor will review these options with you to discuss the best path for you.
Commonly used medications for the treatment of hot flashes:
- Estrogen alone (typically prescribed to women who have had a hysterectomy)
- Estrogen with Progestin
Clinical research continues to help provide improved options for hot flash treatments. In some cases, women remain without effective hot flash treatment due to the inability to take currently available options. If you are experiencing hot flashes, clinical research studies may be an option. To learn more about the hot flash studies enrolling at Women’s Healthcare Research, call (858) 505-8672, or click here.