Lifestyle changes can help with hot flashes. Simple things, like dressing in layers (and taking layers off as needed), using a fan, eating cold foods, drinking cold liquids, and practicing relaxation techniques may all help reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes. Women who are overweight may find that losing a few pounds will help with hot flashes (reason # 83 for losing weight!).
The most important phytoestrogens found in the human diet are isoflavones, derived mainly from soybeans (tofu, which is processed soy, contains less), and lignans, which are present in high concentrations in flaxseed but are also found in various cereals, vegetables, fruits and legumes. Black cohosh (cimicifuga racemosa) and red clover (Trifolium pratense) are also well-known sources of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens generally act as weak estrogens, but may have antiestrogenic effects. Studies of their use in menopause have produced conflicting results. All that can be said as of December, 2004, is that they MAY help some women with menopausal symptoms. Short-term use is safe, but longterm safety is unknown (the estrogenic effects could increase the risk of uterine cancer and breast cancer).
|Food||Soy protein content||Approximate calories|
|1 cup soy milk||3-10 gm||90 cal (low fat), 140 cal (regular)|
|3 oz tofu||10 gm||90 cal|
|1/2 cup soy flour||20 gm||220 cal|
|2 Tbsp soy protein isolate||25 gm||110 cal|
Progesterone is effective in decreasing vasomotor symptoms, but side effects and adverse effects on lipids have limited its use. Micronized progesterone is now available; it has no effect on HDL or mood, but no study has yet addressed its effectiveness in treating vasomotor symptoms.
Some studies have found the seratonin reuptake inhibitors (drugs used to treat depression, like Paxil, Celexa, Prozac, Zoloft) help reduce hot flashes.
Dong quai, evening primrose oil, fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, ginseng, rice bran oil, wild yam, calcium, gotu kola, licorice root, sage, sasaparilla, passion flower, chaste berry, ginko biloba, and valerian root have no proven benefit in treating hot flashes.