Non Hormone Treatment Options for Hot Flashes

Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause. There are several herbal over-the-counter remedies that have shown some benefit in reducing hot flashes and night sweats.

Black Cohosh—studies of its effectiveness in reducing hot flashes are mixed, but many women report help from this herb. It has a good safety record. Look for the brand Remifemin for consistency and good quality.

Dong Quai—Has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for >1000 years. Many women report benefit, although scientific studies have not confirmed this. It should never be used by women with blood clotting disorders like hemophilia or by women taking blood thinners such as Coumadin.

Ginseng—Research has shown that it may help with some menopause symptoms such as mood and sleep problems and one’s overall sense of wellbeing. However, it has not been found to be helpful with hot flashes.

Evening primrose—some women report a decrease in hot flashes with evening primrose, but it has not been proven in studies. Potential side effects include inflammation, problems with blood clotting , nausea or diarrhea.

Soy—Contains isoflavones, sometimes call phytoestrogens. They are plant-derived compounds with estrogen-like activity in the body. Soy base isoflavones appear to be modestly effective in helping with hot flashes in some studies.
Red Clover—another source of isoflavones that have been studied for hot flashes with mixed results.

Other methods for reducing hot flashes:
• Avoid hot drinks
• Avoid spicy foods and alcohol which can be triggers
• Dress in layers
• Keep a fan nearby at work or in bedroom at night
• Drink cold water
• Use cooling pillow at night for sleep

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