Hot flashes is a symptom of the changing hormone levels that are considered to be characteristic of menopause. You have many options when it comes to managing hot flashes, ranging from lifestyle modifications to prescription medications. Hot flashes can descend on you at any time, leaving you sweaty and red-faced. But they're quite common — as many as three out of every four women experience hot flashes as they go through the menopausal transition.
Hot flashes are typically experienced as a feeling of intense heat with sweating and rapid heartbeat, and may typically last from two to thirty minutes for each occurrence. The event may be repeated a few times each week or constantly throughout the day, with the frequency reducing over time. Excessive flushing can lead to rosacea.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may relieve many of the symptoms of menopause. However, HRT increases the risk of breast cancer, stroke, and dementia and has other potentially serious short-term and long-term risks.
The U.S. FDA and women's health advocates recommend that women who experience hot flashes try alternatives to hormonal therapies as the first line of treatment. If a woman chooses hormones, they suggest she take the lowest dose that alleviates her symptoms for as short a time as possible.
In addition to traditional hormone replacement therapies, there are other strategies and natural supplements available to try.