Dealing With Hot Flashes
When the first one hits you, it’s confusing. “What the heck is happening?” All of a sudden, the sweats come, you wake up with wet hair, your heart might speed up, your fingers might tingle. You may even worry you are going to pass out – common mistake. Guess what, it’s a hot flash.
Nearly every woman, at some point in her life, will experience a hot flash. But breast cancer treatments and medications during and especially after are known to cause early menopause (…ugh!), or side-effects similar to menopause-like effects, so more likely than not, you can expect to experience one sooner than later if you are going through breast cancer.
There are few studies that have proven successful ‘treatments’ for hot flashes. In reality, the best you can do is be ready for it. Understand what to expect, and be prepared for how to deal with one when it happens. and of course have portable hand fans if you can. But in the meantime, let us help… below are two resources on dealing with hot flashes to help you #LiveBetter.
InKind Medical Advisor, Dr. Elizabeth Poynor, shares her tips on Non-Hormonal Treatments for Hot Flashes:
A plant based diet is best, rich in legumes, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Ground flaxseed (40mg per day) may help to relieve hot flashes. Fermented foods such as tofu, miso, and tempeh may also help.
Resource: Forks Over Knives
30 to 60 minutes of intentional restorative exercise may be beneficial to relieve hot flashes. Exercise may also help with fatigue, depression, irritability and insomnia.
In addition to helping with hot flashes, it may also help with irritability, depression and anxiety. The following poses may be helpful: bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), standing forward bend (Uttanasana), downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), plow pose (Halasana), seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana), child’s pose (Balasana), camel pose (Ustrasana).
Resource: Yoga Journal
MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) may help to relieve the symptoms of hot flashes. MBSR has been demonstrated in studies to decrease the degree of bother and distress generated by hotflashes. MBSR may also help with quality of sleep, anxiety, quality of life and perceived stress.
Vitamins and Supplements
Vitamin E This may help with hot flashes and anxiety. 800 IU of vitamin E per day can be used.
Vitamin C This may help with hot flashes and can be used up between 500 to 5000 mg per day.
Calcium and Magnesium This may help with mental stress and anxiety. 500 mg of calcium can be used per day along with 250 to 300 mg of magnesium per day.
B Complex Vitamins These may help with hot flashes and mood issues also. A B complex vitamin that provides between up to 50 mg of vitamin B6, up to 100 mcg of vitamin B12, and up to 1000 mcg of folic acid can be used.
Supplements and Botanicals
Evening Primrose Oil This can help with hot flashes. Up to 1200 mg of evening primrose oil can be used.
Flaxseed Oil May also be helpful with control of hot flashes, 1 to 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil per day can be used.
Black Cohosh This may help with hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood issues such as depression. It may also be helpful for palpitations. 500-mg capsules of one to three per day can be used. A tincture of black cohosh can also be used from Gaia Herbs between 10 to 25 drops of black cohosh can be used each day every four hours.
Dong Quai Can also be used to help with hot flashes. Approximately 600 mg per day can be used or 5 to 20 drops of a tincture up to three times per day can be used.
Vitex This can also be helpful in the treatment of hot flashes, night sweats. It may also be useful for women with peri menopausal heavy and irregular periods. 200 mg of Vitex can be used one to three times daily. A tincture can also be used.
Maca In doses of 1,000-2,000 mg per day it may be helpful.
Red Clover may help with hot flashes, vaginal dryness, depression and anxiety. 40mg of an extract can be used two times per day.
Pueraria mirifico This is a member of the legume family and contains phytoestrogens. Between 50 to 100mg daily may help with hot flashes and night sweats.
5-hydroxy tryptophan 5-HT can help to balance serotonin and boost it. It should be used with caution in women who use SSRI’s. It may help to improve mood and relieve insomnia. 100mg can be used two to three times a day.
Cumin, Coriander and Fennel Tea Combine ½ teaspoon of each into quart of boiling water; steep and strain.
Green Tea and Dark Chocolate These may help with stress and anxiety. Green tea contains L-theanine that may help to induce quiet and calm.
Saffron 15mg two times per day may help with anxiety, irritability, depression, mood swings, and insomnia.
Relizen The flower pollen extract in Relizen has been tested in multiple studies.It has been demonstrated to be beneficial for hotflashes.
Dr. Elizabeth Poynor is a gynecologic oncologist and advanced pelvic surgeon, with a deep understanding of women's health. She provides surgical management of gynecologic cancers and works with medical and radiation oncologists in order to facilitate a compassionate, multidisciplinary approach to the management of women’s cancers.