Hot Flashes (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Hot flashes definition and facts
- What are hot flashes?
- How long do hot flashes last?
- What causes hot flashes?
- Signs and symptoms: What do hot flashes feel like?
- How is the cause of hot flashes diagnosed?
- What are the treatments for hot flashes?
- Hormone therapy for hot flashes
- Bioidentical hormone therapy for hot flashes
- Other prescription drug treatments for hot flashes
- What natural and home remedies treat hot flashes?
- Black cohosh for hot flashes
- Soy and other plant sources for menopause symptoms
- Other vitamins, herbs, and supplements
- Which type of doctor treats hot flashes?
- Can hot flashes be prevented?
- Find a local Endocrinologist in your town
Black cohosh for hot flashes
Black cohosh is an herbal preparation that is becoming more and more popular in the U.S., and the North American Menopause Society does support the short-term use of black cohosh for treating menopausal symptoms, for a period of up to six months (because of its relatively low incidence of side effects when used over the short-term).
Some studies have shown that black cohosh can reduce hot flashes, but most of the studies have not been considered to be rigorous enough in their design to firmly prove any benefit. There also have not been scientific studies done to establish the long-term benefits and safety of this product. Research is ongoing to further determine the effectiveness and safety of black cohosh.
Soy and other plant sources for menopause symptoms
Isoflavones are chemical compounds found in soy and other plants (such as chick peas and lentils) that are phytoestrogens, or plant-derived estrogens. They have a chemical structure that is similar to the estrogens naturally produced by the body, but their effectiveness as an estrogen has been determined to be much lower than true estrogens.
Some studies have shown that these compounds may help relieve hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. In particular, women who have had breast cancer and do not want to take hormone therapy (HT) with estrogen sometimes use soy products for relief of menopausal symptoms. However, some phytoestrogens can actually have anti-estrogenic properties in certain situations, and the overall risks of these preparations have not yet been determined.
There is also a perception among many women that plant estrogens are "natural" and therefore safer than hormone therapy, but this has never been proven scientifically. Further research is needed to fully characterize the safety and potential risks of phytoestrogens.
Other vitamins, herbs, and supplements
There are many other supplements and substances that have been used as treatments for symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, including:
- vitamin E,
- evening primrose oil,
- dong quai,
- chasteberry, and
- wild yam.
For more information please read our Alternative Treatments for Hot Flashes article.
Scientific studies to prove the safety and effectiveness of these products in relieving hot flashes have not been adequately performed.
Which type of doctor treats hot flashes?
Many women will consult their gynecologist for the management of hot flashes associated with approaching menopause. Hot flashes are also treated by primary care providers, including internists and family practitioners. Hot flashes related to uncommon conditions, serious infections, or cancers are treated by the specialists treating the underlying condition.
Can hot flashes be prevented?
While the development of hot flashes cannot be prevented, the treatment methods as described in the above section may be able to reduce their incidence and severity.
Santen, Richard J, MD, et al. "Menopausal hot flashes." UptoDate. Mar 17, 2015
Find out what women really need.