Menopause – when symptoms don’t go…
The symptom: hot flushes
About four in five women get hot flushes, but they tend to be worst in the two to three years around the menopause. Bouts of sweating, especially at night, are also common. For many women, they’re a bore – for a few, they can make life a misery.
• Keep cool! – keeping cool won’t stop your hot flushes, but it may be enough to make mild ones bearable. Turn the thermostat down; wear natural fabrics that let your skin breathe; and invest in a thinner duvet, as we tend to get hottest at night.
• Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is by far the most effective treatment for hot flushes and sweats. There has been a lot of anxiety about a possible link between HRT and breast cancer. Taking HRT for two to three years doesn’t seem to increase your risk, although using HRT for five years may increase your risk by 0.5% (for every 200 women who take it, one will get breast cancer who wouldn’t have done) and taking it for 10 years may increase your risk by up to 2%.
• Antidepressants – although they’ve had something of a bad press over the years, most antidepressant medicines are safe and effective. As well as helping with depression, they relieve hot flushes in more than half of women who take them.
• Natural remedies – More and more women are turning to natural remedies for the menopause. Among the ones with the best evidence is:
Black cohosh (a member of the buttercup family) may help relieve hot flushes. Do choose a licensed preparation like MenoHerb®- there have been occasional cases of serious side effects, including liver damage, with unlicensed versions. It shouldn’t be taken if you have any liver or kidney problems. For more information and special prices visit http://www.menoherb.co.uk. Always read the label.
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