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Menopause

Hot flashes

09/06/2007

Question:

I`m 49 and have been having them a couple months now, every hour day and night. The ones at night bother me the most as they wake me up out of a dead sleep 5-6 times a night. I`ve tried Clonidine but it doesn`t work for me and I dislike the side effects. I`ve been documenting these hotflashes and have noticed when I have a coffee and a smoke it almost always triggers one, so I`m curious if I cut back on both will it reduce the hotflashes the same as a medication would because from what I`ve read NOTHING seems to stop them only reduce them? I had a FSH test and my level is 79.5 does that mean I`m at the beginning/middle or end of menopause? Thanks

Answer:

Hormone therapy is the most effective therapy for hot flashes.  However, for many women the hot flashes do come back when they stop the medication, and we are not recommending women take hormones forever.  Some women do not care to take hormones.  For some, the hot flashes are a little milder the second time.  You have identified important triggers for you hot flashes.  It would be great if you could stop smoking.  Many women use an overhead fan or a fan beside their bed.  Some sleep with a leg uncovered.  It is important not to use comforters and heavy sheets that trap the heat too well. Stressful situations and bright lights are common triggers as well.  These measures reduce the number of hot flashes.  If the result is not satisfactory, the SSRI class of medications also helps to reduce the frequency of hot flashes.

FSH levels generally go quite high (as yours did) shortly after menopause and then slowly decline. The range of normal is so wide that we cannot predict what the FSH level means for symptoms and how long they will last.

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Response by:

Margery   Gass, MD Margery Gass, MD
Formely, Professor, Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati