1. Home
  2. Ask the Expert
  3. Questions and Answers  
Main content

Question & Answer

Hot Flashes: Do over-the-counter products work? | Ask the Expert
Hot flashes are sudden brief episodes of increased perspiration and heart palpitations typically associated with decreased levels of estrogen hormone around the time of menopause. The more rapid and drastic the decrease in estrogen levels, such as following surgical removal of the ovaries in pre-menopausal women, the more severe the hot flashes. Severe hot flashes frequently occur with such related symptoms as night sweats, insomnia and anxiety.
Menopause,Women's Health,

Question:

What do you recommend for hot flashes? I only get them during the day. Is there some over-the-counter product that I can buy?

Answer:

Ryszard Chetkowski, M.D.Ryszard Chetkowski, M.D.OB/GYN, REIAlta Bates Summit Medical Center
Expert
Ryszard Chetkowski, M.D.OB/GYN, REIAlta Bates Summit Medical Center

Dr. Ryzard Chetkowski is Board Certified in Obstetrics / Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology. His professional interests include infertility, fertility preservation, gestational surrogacy, donor eggs and donor embryos.

Hot flashes are sudden brief episodes of increased perspiration and heart palpitations typically associated with decreased levels of estrogen hormone around the time of menopause. The more rapid and drastic the decrease in estrogen levels, such as following surgical removal of the ovaries in pre-menopausal women, the more severe the hot flashes. Severe hot flashes frequently occur with such related symptoms as night sweats, insomnia and anxiety.

Estrogen treatment is the most effective medical treatment for severe hot flashes. Long term use of estrogen and progesterone hormones has been associated with significant health risks, so this form of treatment is recommended only for severe menopausal symptoms at the minimum effective dose and for the shortest duration possible.

There has been interest in the value of dietary phytoestrogens but most studies show no benefit above the approximately 40% reduction seen with placebo. Acupuncture has also not been shown to be effective in well-designed studies. Fortunately, over time the frequency and intensity of hot flashes decrease even without any specific treatment.

Ask our experts your health question(s).