What are effective treatments for hot flashes or hot flushes?
The answers will vary, depending on whom you ask. The good news is that there are a number of treatment options available to reduce the incidence and/or severity of hot flashes.
Multiple studies have documented that prescription hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with estrogen that is systemic (circulated in the body through the bloodstream) is an effective treatment available for hot flashes. Hormone replacement therapy works by supplementing your body with the hormones that it used to make more of before menopause – specifically estradiol, which is produced by your ovaries.1
Two types of hormone replacement therapy are:
Estrogen Therapy (ET)
The decreasing amount of estrogen produced by your ovaries is what causes menopausal symptoms. Estrogen therapy is designed to add estrogen to your body during menopause, which may help reduce your symptoms. Estrogen alone is generally prescribed for women who are going through menopause and have had a hysterectomy. For more information, please refer to below section Estrogen plus progestogen therapy (EPT).
Estrogen Plus Progestogen Therapy (EPT)
Progestogen is a hormone that helps prevent the lining of the uterus from thickening, so a progestrogen is usually prescribed together with estrogen in women who have not had a hysterectomy, to protect them against uterine (endometrial) cancer.2
There are risks associated with estrogen therapy such as the possibility of blood clots, stroke, and breast cancer. An increased risk of cancer of the uterus has also been reported with the use of estrogen alone in women with a uterus.3
There are many hormone therapy options available, each with associated benefits and risks. The two most commonly used options are:
A wide range of estrogen types, delivery methods, and dosage strengths gives you the opportunity to find the best option for you.
Your doctor can help you determine which hormone replacement therapy is right for you. Before your visit, be sure you’re prepared to discuss your symptoms. To help you prepare for that discussion, download our Menopause Snapshot to help you define your symptoms and situation.
- Nathan L. Menopause and postmenopause. In: DeCherney AH, Nathan L, Goodwin TM, Laufer N, eds. Current Diagnosis and Treatment Obstetrics and Gynecology. 10th ed. McGraw-Hill’s AccessMedicine. Available at: www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed March 3, 2008.
- The North American Menopause Society. The Menopause Guidebook, Seventh Edition. 2012. pp. 10-12, 49.
- ACE Menopause Guidelines Revision Task Force. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists medical guidelines for clinical practice for the diagnosis and treatment of menopause. Endocr Pract. 2006;12:315-337.