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Minerva's Breakdown: Having a Heatwave

Do you have any tips for how to deal with hot flashes?


Dear Minerva:

I'm in menopause and I loved the column where you addressed sex for the post-menopausal woman. I was wondering, do you have any tips for how to deal with hot flashes? I have them something awful. My doctor has offered to start me on hormone therapy. I have a history of migraines with aura and I just don't want to go down that path. Do you have any insight?


Having a Heatwave

Dear Heatwave:

Well, when it comes to menopause, I live by one rule: When I see a man, I pause! All joking aside, hot flashes vary in severity from person to person. Your doctor can best assess what to provide to minimize symptoms. While hormones trigger migraines in some cases, they may help in others. No one who has ever had a migraine can blame you if you don't feel like riding the migraine rollercoaster. Ask your doctor about using low doses of certain antidepressants to help with your "power surges." There are also some additional medications that could help if you are against taking antidepressants. Some people who have menopausal hot flashes find lifestyle changes can provide relief. Things as simple as layering clothing, practicing meditation, staying hydrated and avoiding triggering foods have worked for some. I'm not a medical professional, but if you are like me, migraines can be triggered by many things. Exercise caution when pursuing alternative herbal/supplement options. Also, don't be afraid to get a second opinion if your current medical provider isn't addressing your concerns in a patient-centered fashion.