Q: When do hot flashes end? And how can I find relief without taking hormones?
A: The occurrence of hot flashes varies from woman to woman. Some women are fortunate and don’t experience hot flashes; instead, their periods just stop (12 months without a period is menopause). Other women may have severe hot flashes accompanied by other symptoms, including night sweats, insomnia, irritability, and vaginal dryness. Non-hormonal treatments include diet modification, exercise, antidepressants, and even some medications used to treat hypertension. In my opinion, the most effective is diet and exercise, followed by antidepressants. Some women may try herbal treatments such as black cohosh. If my patient is trying this and it’s working for them, I do not discourage them from using it. However, scientific studies indicate they are no more effective than placebo.
Sabrina Collins, M.D.
Chattanooga Center for Women
7490 Ziegler Rd.
Chattanooga, TN 37421