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Toasted, Roasted, And Soaking Wet

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Recent Blog Entries From Dr. Dave Hnida


Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical Editor
When it comes to the “change of life,” the No. 1 thing that women dread  isn’t osteoporosis or heart disease — it’s hot flashes.

You’re fine one second, then a wave of fire starts at the head and works its way down to your toes. Then your sweat glands open up and leave you drenched as if you just stepped in out of a hurricane.

A new study in Tuesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association may offer some help for women who feel like walking bonfires – it shows a common antidepressant may help ease symptoms quickly, and with few side effects.

In the study, women who used the antidepressant

3123206 Toasted, Roasted, And Soaking Wet

Lexapro (File photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

 cut their rate of hot flashes almost in half within an 8 week period. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an antidepressant do the trick — but this is the largest and best study to date.

The women in the study did not suffer from depression (although with the notorious burn/drench cycle, I’d be depressed) and took a very low dose of the Lexapro. By using the antidepressant, the women were able to avoid estrogen. Side effects were few, women slept better, and in general had more comfortable lives.

We think, by the way, other antidepressants may work just as well.

Now let’s say you don’t want to have anything to do with antidepressants for your hot flashes. You may also get relief from the high blood pressure drug Clonidine. And natural remedies such as black cohosh, red cedar, and flaxseed may do the trick as well.

The good news is when the hot flashes naturally go away (generally 3-4 years, although some women say centuries) you can stop whatever you’re taking.

The point, there’s no reason to suffer. That burned up/soaked feeling can make your days and nights miserable, and these options may help.

Good luck. Keep cool. Stay dry.

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