Cooling down hot flashes after hormone therapy for prostate cancer

Hot flashes can happen when treatment for prostate cancer, specifically hormone therapy, lowers your testosterone.

Hot flashes and hormone therapy

Many men on hormone therapy experience hot flashes, and they are a normal and common side effect.

Cooling down hot flashes

While hot flashes can be frustrating and uncomfortable, there are several things you can do to cool down. Making changes to your daily lifestyle as well as exploring which medications can help is key.

Also, talk to your doctor or care team so that they can recommend helpful lifestyle changes and medications.

Lifestyle changes

Some of the best things you can do to improve hot flashes include cutting back on alcohol, caffeine and smoking. In fact, try to stop smoking altogether. You can find resources online to help you quit. You can also ask your doctor or care team for help.

Some other things you can try:

  • Keep physically active and maintain a healthy diet.

  • Cut back on spicy foods.

  • Go for a lukewarm bath or shower, rather than hot.

  • Drink plenty of water and fluids to stay hydrated and cool.

In your
bedroom

Keep your bedroom at a cool and comfortable temperature. If things get too hot, try keeping a fan nearby. Use light cotton sheets and wear cotton clothes to sleep in. These help absorb sweat and should be easy to clean.

Tip

Lay a cotton towel on top of your sheets to absorb sweat. This helps avoid washing your sheets too often.

Keep
a diary

Keeping a diary that tracks when your hot flashes happen and how long they last will be helpful. Track this activity for a few weeks, then speak to your doctor about your lifestyle changes and medications to see if they’re helping.

Medications

Several medications may help relieve the problems hot flashes cause - including how often you get them.

Your doctor may suggest you take:

  • venlafaxine - an antidepressant that can be used for mild hot flashes

Megestrol (Megace), medroxyprogesterone (Provera) or cyproterone (Androcur) are rarely used to treat hot flushes, but you may have heard about them.

There is also a drug called gabapentin that may help, but more time and research is needed to see how effective it is.

Not every medication will be right for every person, so your doctor will need to discuss your options with you. You should especially inform your doctor if you have a history of heart disease, strokes, liver problems or high blood pressure.

Complementary
therapies

While medicines and lifestyle changes are good options, some men have found success with 'complementary therapies'. These therapies work alongside other treatments and include things like:

  • acupuncture (inserting thin needles into the skin, which might increase energy levels)

  • hypnotherapy (a therapist relaxes you with their voice and may put you in a trance)

  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) (incorporating positive thoughts and beliefs to change unhelpful behaviors)

  • herbal remedies (using plants, herbs, oils, and tea to improve your problems)

It is important to remember that some herbal remedies may change the way medications act work in your body, so speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any additional supplements.

These complementary therapies may not be widely recommended by doctors and not everything is known about how useful they may be. Before trying a complementary therapy, please talk to your doctor about your options.

What's next?

Now that you've read up on Cooling down hot flashes after hormone therapy for prostate cancer, here are some related articles to explore as you continue to build your knowledge and understanding of this topic.
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