Hot flushes or hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause among premenopausal women. They include a sudden feeling of warmth especially on the face, chest and neck, redness of facial skin, sweating, dizziness, nausea, anxiety and a feeling of suffocation.
Some women also experience an uneasy feeling before hot flashes which makes them know that hot flush is coming. This sudden and uneasy feeling which precedes a hot flash is known as “aura”. Though hot flashes are commonly seen among premenopausal women sometimes they also occur among women who suffer from certain health conditions like hyperthyroidism, severe infections or cancers, women who are on hormone therapy and women who suffer from stress and anxiety.
Cures for Hot Flashes
The major and most effective treatment for hot flashes is hormone replacement therapy but since short term HRT also carries its own risks there are some other treatments also which bring relief to the patient.
Medication for Hypertension
The medicines meant to lower the blood pressure among hypertension patients like Clonidine, Aldomet, etc. work with women suffering from hot flashes too because these drugs change the response of blood vessels to the brain’s command regarding heat. One should never take these drugs as OTC drugs. Your doctor should prescribe them after examining you thoroughly.
Antidepressants is another category which works well for mild hot flashes though they may not be effective for women suffering from severe form of hot flashes.
Antidepressants like Pexin, Wellbutrin, Prozac, Cymbalta and Zoloft are generally prescribed for hot flashes. These drugs are helpful for those women who cannot take HRT.
Doctors prescribe sedatives also to those women who need not be given HRT since hot flashes are associated with anxiety, stress, a general feeling of suffocation, etc. These sedatives slow down the fast chemical activity going on in the brain. Mild sedatives like Bellergal – S, if taken once a day can be quite effective for hot flashes also.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone Replacement Therapy eases out the symptoms of hot flashes but it is also associated with many serious health problems like endometrial cancer, breast cancer, blood clots, inflammation of gall bladder, etc. HRT includes a combination of both the female hormones – estrogen and progesterone taken either orally or as a shot or mere estrogen hormone taken orally or as a shot.
When the symptoms of hot flashes begin to interfere with day to day life of a woman then generally HRT is prescribed for a shorter period of time. HRT taken for shorter period of time carries lesser risk of developing complications.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs
This is a separate class of medicines meant for emotional and mental health problems like depression, anxiety, nervousness, etc. Some studies have shown that when given in small amounts, the SSRIs are useful for hot flashes also.
Along with the medication some lifestyle changes like switching to low-fat diet, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly helps in controlling hot flashes.