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Women's Health

What to do for hot flashes

07/03/2006

Question:

I had a lumpectomy in March, 2002. I had radiation and have been on tamoxifin for 4 years. The tamoxfin did not send me into menopause. I had only my ovaries removed in November 2005. Since then, I have been suffering severely with hot flashes and night sweats. I have been told about Suzanne Somers using natural hormone creams to help - what do you know about this. My cancer was estrogen based.

Sweating in the South!!!!

Answer:

I'm assuming that you are relatively young, but having your ovaries removed gives a sudden surgical menopause that can result in signficant hot flashes, such as you describe.  I also suspect that your oncologist does not want you to take estrogen, but you might ask about natural progesterone.

I will give you some suggestions for dealing with the hot flashes and night sweats, but it won't stop them.  First, temperature is important...in summer (or winter, if you live in a chaning climate), going from a warm environment to a cool one, can in itself trigger a hot flash.  So, be prepared for that. Use a fan. Try keeping a record of when you have a hot flash, and what you were doing just before. That should help you identify your triggers, and then see if you can (or can't) do anything about it. Sometimes it's foods that you could avoid. Wear layers of clothes, so that you can take off a layer when you flash.  Wear cotton clothing, rather than synthetics, so that your body can breathe.  Good luck!

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Response by:

Linda A Bernhard, PhD, RN Linda A Bernhard, PhD, RN
Associate Professor Emeritus
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University