Hot Flashes and Medications: What to Take and What to Avoid

Flashes Medications

for Optimal Health

Hot flashes, a common symptom of menopause and pre-menopause, can be particularly troublesome for many women. Women experience hot flashes in varying intensities and frequencies, and they can interfere with everyday life and sleep. Although there is no single solution for everyone, understanding the possibility of medication and lifestyle changes may be helpful in reducing the severity and frequency of these hot flashes.

What Medications Can Help?

Prescription medications can provide relief during menopause and may help reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes. Popular medications include hormone replacement therapy (HRT), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). Hormone replacement therapy is commonly recommended to relieve the symptoms of menopause, though it has its own associated side effects, including stroke and cancer, making it a less viable option for some women. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – or SSRIs – are a type of antidepressant that can help reduce hot flashes. Selective estrogen receptor modulators, also known as SERMs, work by activating estrogen receptors in certain areas of the body. They have been found to reduce the frequency of hot flashes and improve quality of life.

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What Lifestyle Changes Can Help?

While medications may be helpful, there are also lifestyle changes that can help reduce hot flashes. Common lifestyle recommendations include:

  • Diet changes – Eating a varied and balanced diet can help regulate hormones and reduce the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes. A diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats is recommended.
  • Stress reduction – Stress and anxiety can increase the severity and frequency of hot flashes, so reducing stress can help. Someone experiencing menopausal symptoms may find relief through mindfulness practices, such as meditation and yoga.
  • Hydration – Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water can help reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.
  • Sleeping habits – Getting plenty of restful sleep can help reduce hot flashes.

What Medications Should Be Avoided?

There are certain medications that should be avoided due to the risk of adverse side effects to the body. Some examples of medications that should be avoided include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – NSAIDs are commonly used to treat pain and inflammation, however, they can increase the risk of hot flashes.
  • Synthetic hormones – Synthetic hormones, such as birth control pills, can increase the risk of hot flashes.
  • 5-alpha reductase inhibitors – These medications, which are used to treat prostate enlargement and hair loss, can cause hot flashes in some users.
  • alpha-adrenergic agonists – Often used to treat high blood pressure, these medications may also cause hot flashes in some users.


Hot flashes are a common and bothersome symptom of menopause, but there are some medications and lifestyle changes that may be helpful in reducing the severity and frequency of these hot flashes. It is important to note that each woman is different, and the best course of treatment for one person may not work for another. It is always recommended to speak with a doctor or healthcare provider for advice tailored to individual needs.