A common symptom of the menopausal transition, hot flashes are uncomfortable and last for years. Hot flashes at night are called night sweats. Some women find that hot flashes interfere with their daily lives. The study found that hot flashes in women first appeared, how long they lasted, and that African American and Hispanic women experienced hot flashes longer than white and Asian women. You may not need to change. Explore treatment options because of your lifestyle or because your symptoms are mild. However, if you are concerned about hot flashes, there are a few things you can do. Consider what triggers your hot flashes and how much they bother you. This will help you make better decisions about managing your symptoms.
Make lifestyle changes to improve hot flashes
Before considering medication, try to change your lifestyle first. If you have hot flashes at night, try lowering the temperature in your bedroom and drinking a small amount of cold water before bed. Layer your bedding, adjust as needed, and turn on the fan. Here are some other lifestyle changes you can make:
Dress in layers that can be removed during the onset of hot flashes.
Carry a portable fan for when it’s hot.
Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine. These can make menopause symptoms worse.
If you smoke, try to quit for the sake of your health, not just for hot flashes.
Try to maintain a healthy weight. Women who are overweight or obese have more frequent and severe hot flashes.
Explore mind-body exercises. Some early research has shown that hypnotherapy and mindfulness meditation can help combat hot flashes.
Non-hormonal medications for hot flashes
If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to improve your symptoms, non-hormonal options for hot flashes may be helpful. If you are unable to take hormones for medical reasons or are concerned about the potential risks, these may be a good option.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved paroxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant, for use in hot flashes. Researchers are studying other antidepressants that doctors may prescribe off-label.
Women who take antidepressants for hot flashes tend to take lower doses than those who take drugs to treat depression. As with any medication, talk to your doctor about whether it’s right for you and how to manage potential side effects.