Helen Pensanti, M.D.

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Dr. Helen Pensanti Discussion

Eliminating Hot Flashes

Hot flashes usually occur in the 1-2 years after your last period although in some women they can last up to 10 years (sorry!) Hot flashes are a symptom of fluctuating estrogen levels. That is why you can be going along fine without hot flashes and suddenly begin to have them again.

Menopausal women whose blood shows normal estrogen levels still can have hot flashes. If you are on natural hormones and still have hot flashes, raise your hormone intake to the needed level. The hot flashes or night sweats should disappear. It may mean you need to go to 1/2 teaspoon of cream twice daily or raise your oral dose. Use the disappearance of the hot flashes as a guide for using an appropriate amount of cream.

It is not always possible to eliminate all hot flashes in some women, but we have great success. Here are some other tips:

High doses of Vitamin E (800-1000 IU daily) have been extremely effective for many women. Take it with meals. Reduce dosage to the lowest effective dose as flashes decrease. Do not exceed 1200 IU daily.

Take Essential Fatty Acids or the Ultra GLA Borage Oil daily. These contain gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which increases prostaglandin production and relieves the frequency and severity of hot flashes.

Vitamin B6 has also been found to be helpful. As a matter of fact, my friend Dr. John R. Lee likes to put all menopausal women on Vitamin B6 and so do I.

Do not be dismayed if you cannot take estrogen. A study by Dr. J. Leonetti showed that using just 1/4 tsp. of a good progesterone cream resulted in an 85% improvement in hot flashes. You can also use progesterone directly following the first flash to prevent a wave of flushing. Use 1/4 tsp. every 15 minutes for 1 hour following the episode. This often controls them. If you are on one of my phyto-estrogen creams, remember they are well-balanced with lots of progesterone so you can use them for this purpose. For very tough cases and no response to increased doses of the cream or pills, I have 2 products with extra estrogen (see page 15 of the catalog) that you can add to your regimen.

PLEASE REMEMBER: Although hot flashes can be extremely annoying and uncomfortable, no one has ever died from a hot flash. Synthetic hormones have been found to be good in this one area only -- eliminating hot flashes, but can lead to breast or uterine cancer which are life-threatening. It is my desire to see you get through menopause NATURALLY and SAFELY.

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