Hot flashes? Night sweats? Here’s the scoop

Hot flashes and night sweats make it difficult for many women to sleep well. While hormonal therapy is available and might be best for some women, there are potential risks.

Veronika Kolder, MD
Veronika Kolder, MD

That’s why the demand for non-hormonal medications and over-the-counter options has been increasing, according to Veronika Kolder, MD, a gynecologist and medical director of the menopause clinic with UI Women’s Health.

“Hot flashes during menopause may not be completely avoidable but there are still things you can do,” she says

“Soy products and  black cohosh (available asRemifemin® are available over the counter and might benefit some women.”

Kolder cautions that these substances may not be appropriate for everyone, so interested women should talk with their providers before using them. In addition, certain behaviors may make hot flashes more frequent or severe. All of these behaviors are avoidable:

  • Stress
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Tight clothing
  • Heat
  • Cigarette smoke

Other options include:

  • Cool your bedroom at night (try chilling your pillows)
  • Wear light layers of clothes with natural fibers such as cotton
  • Practice deep, slow abdominal breathing (six to eight breaths per minute) twice daily and when hot flashes begin
  • Exercise daily

For more information

  • Call the UI Women’s Health Center at 319-356-2294
  • Call toll-free 800-777-8442 (be sure to ask for the UI Women’s Health Center)
  • Call UI Hospitals and Clinics—Iowa River Landing at 319-467-2000

–Spring/Summer 2013