If you experience hot flashes or night sweats, you’re not alone: eight in ten menopausal women have hot flashes and night sweats (hot flashes at night). If you’re hoping they will pass, you may have a long wait. Hot flashes may occur for seven to ten years.
A hot flash is that sudden sensation of heat across the face, neck, and chest with sweating, anxiety and sometimes heart palpitations. They can last from one to five minutes. Hot flashes may result in sleep disturbances (night sweats), mood swings, difficulty concentrating, brain fog, and the inability to function at home or work.
In about one third of menopausal women, the hot flashes and night sweats occur frequently and can be severe in intensity, having a negative effect on quality of life.
The gold standard for the treatment of hot flashes is hormonal therapy. Unfortunately, hormonal therapy is not appropriate for many women. For some, it is due to age (hormonal therapy is not indicated for those 60 or older); others may be advised against hormonal therapy due to a history of heart disease, stroke, blood clots, or some cancers that are estrogen sensitive. In some cases, it is a personal preference not to take hormone therapy, even if eligible.
Recently the FDA approved a new non-hormonal medication for treatment of hot flashes. Clinical trials in more than 1,000 post-menopausal women demonstrated this medication can reduce the frequency and severity of moderate to severe hot flashes and night sweats that affect quality of life. The treatment has been shown to reduce hot flashes and night sweats within four weeks of use while demonstrating long term safety. It works by suppressing the area in the brain that causes hot flashes.
If you are a menopausal patient who has moderate to severe hot flashes or night sweats that affect your quality of life, contact our office to discuss your treatment options.
Frank Bonura M.D., FACOG, NCMP, CCD
Director of Menopausal Health at St. Catherine of Sienna
Telephone Number: 631-724-6262