there anything that can be done for menopausal symptoms that
doesn’t include taking hormones? I’ve had breast cancer in
the past so am unable to take hormones, but I wake up nearly
every night because of night sweats and have occasional hot
flashes during the day.
are options for managing night sweats and hot flashes that do
not involve taking hormones. Many women find that making some
lifestyle changes can make a big difference. In addition,
several prescription medications that do not contain hormones
are available to treat hot flashes.
mention, doctors often advise women who have had breast cancer
not to take hormone therapy for menopause symptoms. But that
does not mean you have to simply suffer through those
first step is to take a look at adjustments you can make in
your day-to-day routines. For example, staying cool and
lowering your stress can reduce the likelihood of hot flashes
and night sweats. Some tips that may help include the
avoid hot, spicy foods, warm beverages, caffeine and alcohol,
as these are common hot flash triggers. When choosing clothing
in the morning, dress in layers, so you can remove a layer if
you get too warm. Pick light, breathable fabrics.
minimize night sweats, make your bedroom cool and comfortable.
Lower the temperature in your room and use layers of bedding
you can remove easily during the night. Keep a small fan near
your bedside, along with a glass of cold water. Some women put
a frozen cold pack under their pillow, too.
your stress and to help you sleep better, exercise regularly.
Other stress reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga,
qigong, tai chi, acupuncture and massage can also be useful.
When used during hot flashes, a form of deep breathing called
paced respirations may also reduce your symptoms.
choices to improve your health can make a difference, too. For
example, along with other serious health problems, smoking
raises your risk for hot flashes. If you smoke, talk to your
health care provider about programs and resources in your area
that can help you stop smoking. Your weight can also have an
impact. Women who are overweight tend to have more hot
flashes, so try to get to and stay at a healthy weight.
lifestyle changes are not enough to give you relief from hot
flashes, you may want to consider taking a prescription
medication that does not contain hormones. A number of options
are available. For your situation, a drug called gabapentin
may be a good choice. Gabapentin can also cause drowsiness, so
it is often recommended for women who have bothersome night
medications that can be effective include certain drugs that
are approved to treat depression, but also reduce hot flashes
in women without depression. Venlafaxine, escitalopram and
paroxetine are examples of these medications. But be aware
that you should not take paroxetine if you take tamoxifen for
people tout nonprescription medications as being useful for
reducing hot flashes. Be careful with these. In many cases,
their effectiveness has not been confirmed. Some of them are
associated with an increased risk of other health problems.
The herbal supplement black cohosh, for instance, is sometimes
cited as being useful for minimizing hot flashes. But it has
not been shown to be effective, and it may cause liver damage.
are interested in taking medication for your hot flashes, talk
to your doctor about which one is right for you. It may also
be useful to talk with a physician who specializes in women’s
health issues. At Mayo Clinic, specialists in the Women’s
Health Clinic are available for this purpose. Many other
health care organizations offer this type of service, as well.
Women’s Health Week is May 8-14.