Hot flash relief

What works, what doesn't


SEATTLE, Wash. – She stomps, she spins, she do-si-dos. And Teresa Vandeven loves every minute of it But dancing became harder for the active 57-year-old when she experienced hot flashes. She would have up to 20 a day!

"I was really feeling miserable and uncomfortable," said Vandeven.

She isn't alone. About 75% of menopausal women will experience hot flashes, but can you prevent them?

Bonnie McGregor, PhD, Clinical Psychologist and Behavioral Scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, recently discovered an unlikely link between women who had surgery that put them into menopause and children. 

"The women that had children under the age of 13 reported fewer hot flash symptoms," McGregor said.

One possible reason is they speculate that they might produce more oxytocin, the love hormone.

Katherine Guthrie, PhD, Associate Member at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, looked at remedies that don't work in her recent studies. 

"There are a lot of things I think women need to be informed that, what really works and what really doesn't," Guthrie explained.

She found omega-3 supplements, exercise and yoga don't relieve hot flashes. But one thing that did work, antidepressants.

"We saw improvement in more than half the women," Guthrie added.

Vandeven participated in a study to test antidepressants for hot flashes. She went from having 20 a day to just a couple a week.

"My life changed, just changed. I wasn't miserable, I had a good night's sleep, I was feeling better," said Vandeven.

And now the only thing that's hot on the dance floor is her moves!

Guthrie says studies have also shown that black cohosh in combination with a multibotanical supplement does not help hot flashes.