Does caffeine cause hot flashes


Common Hot Flash Triggers

Do you soak through your shirt at work or drench your sheets in your sleep? You’re probably experiencing hot flashes, a classic menopause symptom. As your hormone levels change during menopause, feeling overheated, flushed, and sweaty are common symptoms. In fact, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, up to 75 percent of American women have hot flashes during menopause, and 25 percent of those affect will experience hot flashes for five years or more.

Menopause is yet another part of a woman’s normal reproductive cycle, one that signals the end of monthly menstruation and a woman’s fertile years. Fortunately, there are ways to manage and possibly prevent this uncomfortable menopause symptom.

Know Your Hot Flash Triggers

Hot flashes are characterized by flushing — turning red in the face, neck, and chest — and sweating. Rapid heartbeat, dizziness, and nausea may also occur. This menopause symptom can strike day or night and last anywhere from just a few seconds to as long as five hot minutes.

Here is a list of the most common hot flash triggers:

  • Eating spicy foods. Spicy foods are a known hot flash trigger — even if you’re not menopausal, eating a spicy Mexican meal or hot chicken wings can make you sweat and feel flushed.
  • Drinking a hot beverage. While enjoying a hot cup of tea may relax you, it also increases your body temperature. That means you’re more likely to feel flushed, sweat, and have a hot flash.
  • Consuming caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine is another known trigger for hot flashes, though exactly how it generates sweating isn’t understood. For women looking to prevent or control hot flashes, it’s generally recommended that you avoid caffeinated foods and beverages. Women who drink alcohol also are more likely to have hot flashes.
  • Relaxing in a hot bath, hot tub, or sauna. All of these hot, steamy environments make your body’s core temperature shoot up, which can trigger a hot flash, sweating, and redness.
  • Overheating in hot weather or a hot room. When you’re menopausal, an average summer day or a room that’s just slightly overheated can trigger a full-on hot flash. Whenever your body heats up, expect the flushing and sweating to strike.
  • Smoking. Smoking is known to trigger hot flashes and, of course, plenty of other health complications. To manage hot flashes and also improve your overall health, avoid cigarettes and exposure to secondhand smoke.

5 Ways to Keep Your Cool When Hot Flashes Strike

Keeping a diary of when and where you get hot flashes can help you figure out which specific foods, activities, and situations to avoid.

Here’s what you can do to manage hot flashes when they do strike:

  • Wear lightweight, absorbent cotton clothing (and pajamas at night).
  • Grab a cold drink when you first start to overheat.
  • Turn on a fan or go into a cool room.
  • Try to relax with meditation or deep breathing exercises if you feel anxious or nervous.
  • Dress in layers of clothing so that you can take off items as you start to feel warm.

For many women, hot flashes are an inevitable part of menopause. But with a little preparation, you can stay comfortable and keep hot flashes under control.

Menopause: Non-Hormonal Treatment & Relief for Hot Flashes

Hormone therapy is the most effective therapy for hot flashes. However, other non-hormonal options are available for women who are suffering from symptoms, but are not yet ready to consider hormone therapy. Some women are not appropriate candidates for hormone therapy, such as those have been recently treated for breast cancer. It is important to remember that when used appropriately, hormone therapy can be a safe and effective option for many women. Here we will review non-hormonal treatment options for women.

Knowing the triggers of hot flashes

Hot flashes may be precipitated by hot weather, smoking, caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol, tight clothing, heat and stress. Identify and avoid your hot flash “triggers.” Some women notice hot flashes when they eat a lot of sugar. Exercising in warm temperatures might make hot flashes worse.


Avoiding caffeine, spicy foods, and alcohol can help lessen both the number and severity of hot flashes. Many women try to incorporate more plant estrogens into their diet. Plant estrogens, such as isoflavones, are thought to have weak estrogen-like effects that may reduce hot flashes. They may work in the body like a weak form of estrogen. Examples of plant estrogens include: soybeans, chickpeas, lentils, flaxseed, grains, beans, fruits, red clover and vegetables. In general, soybeans, chickpeas, and lentils are considered to have the most powerful plant estrogens, though their effect is much less than that of human estrogen. Try to choose natural foods rather than supplements. Also remember that only crushed or ground forms of flaxseed are likely to help (as compared to the whole seed or seed oil forms).

What foods have high amounts of isoflavones?

Food: Soybeans, green, raw Isoflavone

Amount (Mg) In Food (100g): 151.17

Food: Soy flour (textured) Isoflavone

Amount (Mg) In Food (100g): 148.61

Food: Soybeans, dry roasted Isoflavone

Amount (Mg) In Food (100g): 128.35

Food: Instant beverage soy, powder, not reconstituted Isoflavone

Amount (Mg) In Food (100g): 109.51

Food: Miso soup mix, dry Isoflavone

Amount (Mg) In Food (100g): 60.39

Food: Soybean chips Isoflavone

Amount (Mg) In Food (100g): 54.16

Food: Tempeh, cooked Isoflavone

Amount (Mg) In Food (100g): 53.00

Food: Soybean curd cheese Isoflavone

Amount (Mg) In Food (100g): 28.20

Food: Tofu, silken Isoflavone

Amount (Mg) In Food (100g): 27.91

Food: Tofu, yogurt Isoflavone

Amount (Mg) In Food (100g): 16.30

Food: Soymilk Isoflavone

Amount (Mg) In Food (100g): 9.65

Lifestyle changes

Reducing the temperature in a room, dressing in layers, and the use of a fan while asleep can be effective ways to help deal with troublesome hot flashes. Women who are overweight tend to have more bothersome hot flashes, therefore weight loss can be helpful. Quitting smoking has a dual importance during menopause. First, smoking contributes to the increased cardiovascular risks of being postmenopausal. Second, smokers tend to experience more hot flashes. Women who lead a sedentary life seem to suffer more from hot flashes; however, it is best to exercise in a cooler environment. Try deep, slow abdominal breathing (6 to 8 breaths per minute). Practice deep breathing for 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening and at the onset of hot flashes. For some women, wearing socks to bed is helpful as it can help to cool core body temperature.

Relieving insomnia

  • Keep the bedroom cool to prevent night sweats.
  • Avoid using sleeping pills.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol at night.
  • Take a warm bath or shower at bedtime.
  • Try milk products at bedtime or during the night (but avoid products that contain caffeine).

Coping with mood swings, fears, and depression

  • Find a self-calming skill to practice, such as yoga, meditation or slow, deep breathing.
  • Avoid tranquilizers, if possible.
  • Engage in a creative outlet that fosters a sense of achievement.
  • Stay connected with your family and community; nurture your friendships.

Relieving painful intercourse

Try using a vaginal water-based moisturizing lotion or lubricant during intercourse. These are sold without a prescription near the condoms in most stores. Common names include-Astroglide® and KY liquid® . Avoid Vaseline®, as it may lead to yeast infections.

Prescription and nonprescription remedies

A number of non-hormonal remedies are available for the treatment of hot flashes. Some of these remedies (e.g., black cohosh and soy products) are available over-the-counter but are not FDA-approved. Some prescription medications are used “off label” to help reduce hot flashes. Using a product “off label” means that it is not FDA-approved for the treatment of hot flashes, but is often used because it can be safe and effective for hot flash treatment.

Prescription therapies

Prescription therapies are considered the more effective non-hormonal treatments. These include:

  • Drug: venlafaxine(Effexor®)
    • Side Effects: Nausea, change in bowel habits, headache (temporary side effects for most). Elevated blood pressure (at high doses).
    • Effectiveness: Effectiveness has been proven in several well-designed studies. One of the safer medications for women taking tamoxifen (no drug interaction).
  • Drug: desvenlafaxine(Pristiq®)
    • Side Effects: Similar to venlafaxine. Nausea, change in bowel habits, headache (temporary side effects for most). Elevated blood pressure (at high doses)
    • Effectiveness: Improvement in hot flashes compared to placebo has been shown. Newer medication compared to venlafaxine, so there are a smaller number of studies are available.
  • Drug: fluoxetine (Prozac®)
    • Side Effects: Nausea, change in bowel habits, decreased libido, insomnia. Should be avoided in women taking tamoxifen.
    • Effectiveness: Improvement in hot flashes has been shown in well-designed studies.
  • Drug: paroxetine (Paxil®, Brisdelle®)
    • Side Effects: Nausea, change in bowel habits, decreased libido, dry mouth, weight gain (not common). Should be avoided in women taking tamoxifen.
    • Effectiveness: Has been FDA-approved to treat hot flashes. Tends to be more effective for sleep in women who are also suffering with insomnia. Improvement in hot flashes has been shown in well-designed studies.
  • Drug: escitalopram (Lexapro®)
    • Side Effects: Nausea, change in bowel habits, decreased libido, abnormal EKG (not common).
    • Effectiveness: Tends to be more effective for sleep in women who are also suffering with insomnia.
  • Drug: gabapentin (Neurontin®)
    • Side Effects: Fatigue, dizziness, nausea, disorientation, swelling, weight gain.
    • Effectiveness: Tends to be more effective for sleep in women who are also suffering with insomnia.
  • Drug: clonidine (Catapres®)
    • Side Effects: Dry mouth, drowsiness, fatigue, constipation, lowers blood pressure.
    • Effectiveness: Relieved hot flashes in some, but not all studies. Less commonly used than some of the other options.

Non-prescription, herbal, over-the-counter therapies:

  • Drug: Evening Primrose Oil
    • Side Effects: Nausea, diarrhea, headache.
    • Effectiveness: Only one well-designed study showing not effective.
  • Drug: Black cohosh
    • Side Effects: Mild stomach upset. Safe up to 6 months only due to possible estrogen-like effects. Liver toxicity has been reported.
    • Effectiveness: Some small, short-term studies have suggested benefits, however most studies do not suggest that it works.
  • Drug: Soy (plant estrogen). Also referred to as phytoestrogens.
    • Side Effects: Appears safe if consumed in foods. In supplement form, consistency of dose and quality can be a concern. Supplements are not recommended for breast cancer survivors.
    • Effectiveness: For the most part, results from clinical studies show that phytoestrogens are not effective for treatment of hot flashes.
  • Drug: Acupuncture
    • Side Effects: Uncomfortable for some, often costly. Generally well-tolerated, but multiple visits required.
    • Effectiveness: Individual trials have reported some benefits, but larger studies have not shown any improvement over placebo procedures. However some women do report benefits with this, so it is possible that more well-designed studies are needed to answer this question.
  • Drug: Vitamin E
    • Side Effects: 13% increase risk of heart failure. Might increase death rate in those who use high doses for a long time. A higher risk of prostate cancer has also been shown, but applies only to men.
    • Effectiveness: One study showing effective. However the improvement seen in this was only one less hot flash per day compared to placebo.

Are the over-the-counter herbal products (botanicals) safe?

While safe when taken in moderate amounts through diet, the consumption of extraordinary amounts of soy and isoflavone supplements may be harmful to women with a history of estrogen-dependent cancer, like breast cancer, and possibly to other women as well.

More research is needed to determine the safety and effectiveness of botanical treatments. For example, ginseng, dong quai, wild yam, progesterone cream, reflexology, and magnetic devices are sold to help menopausal symptoms, but there are no good studies looking at their safety or effectiveness. To make an informed decision about the use of these treatments, be sure to discuss them with your doctor.

Because little is known about many botanicals, the best way to evaluate their safety and effectiveness is to become an educated consumer. Here are some tips to consider when shopping for alternative therapies.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the treatment?
  • What does it involve?
  • How does it work?
  • Why does it work?
  • Are there any risks?
  • What are the side effects?
  • Is it effective? (Ask for evidence or proof)
  • How much does it cost?

Once you answer these questions, discuss the therapy with your doctor. Make sure your doctor knows what therapy you are considering in order to discuss possible interactions or side effects with your current treatment.

What are warning signs that a product may not be legitimate?

When trying to determine whether or not a product is what it says it is, one of the elements you may want to look at is how the product is promoted. Be cautious of products promoted through:

  • Telemarketers.
  • Direct mailings.
  • Infomercials.
  • Ads disguised as valid news articles.
  • Ads in the back of magazines.

Additional red flags to look for include:

  • Big claims: If products claim to be a “cure” for your condition, or gives outrageous claims, be cautious.
  • Source: Be wary if the product is only offered through one manufacturer or purchased only through a healthcare provider’s office.
  • Ingredients: Make sure all of the active ingredients are listed, and don’t trust “secret formulas.”
  • Testimonials: Remember that only people who are satisfied with a product give testimonials and that they may be getting paid for their endorsement.

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Coping with menopausal hot flashes and night sweats

If someone experiences severe hot flashes or night sweats that interrupt their daily lives or cause high levels of distress, a doctor may recommend the following medications:

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

Share on PinterestTaking hormone therapy medication can help to reduce menopausal symptoms.

Hormone therapy, or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), is where people take medication that contains estrogen to regulate hormone levels. HRT can relieve many menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and night sweats.

Women who had their uterus removed by a procedure called hysterectomy can take estrogen alone.

But women who still have their uterus are at risk of endometrial cancer if they do so, and they should take a medication that contains both estrogen and progesterone. By combining these two hormones, it may reduce the risk of endometrial cancer compared to administering estrogen alone.

A doctor will tailor hormone therapies for the individual, according to relevant risk factors, and will prescribe the lowest effective dose of hormones to reduce side effects.

Doctors do not usually recommend hormone therapy for women who have had a type of cancer that is sensitive to hormones, such as breast cancer. The reason for this is because these cancers grow faster in the presence of additional hormones. Similarly, doctors do not recommend this treatment for women who have had a blood clot.


Antidepressant medications can also be used to reduce hot flashes and night sweats, although they are not as effective as hormone therapy.

However, they are a good option for women who cannot receive hormone therapy.

The FDA approve the use of paroxetine, an antidepressant, to treat hot flashes. Other antidepressants may also help, including venlafaxine and fluoxetine.

Dizziness, nausea, dry mouth, weight gain, or sexual dysfunction are possible side effects of these medications.

Antidepressants can be an effective treatment for hot flashes and may only need to be taken during the menopausal transition when symptoms are occurring.

Other medications

Other prescription medications can be used to relieve hot flashes and night sweats. However, these are off-label so not approved for this use and should not be taken for menopausal symptoms unless prescribed by a doctor. These include:

  • Clonidine, an anti-hypertensive drug usually used to lower high blood pressure. It can be taken as a pill or by skin patch. Possible side effects include constipation, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, and dry mouth.
  • Gabapentin, an anti-epileptic drug usually used to treat seizures. Possible side effects are difficulty sleeping, dizziness, and headaches.

5 drinks that can upset your menopause

Read the full video transcript below

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I’m going to talk about drinks. Now, over the last year or so, I’ve mentioned, on many occasions, about the drinks that you shouldn’t be drinking or you should be cutting down on. But I’ve not really gone into it into great detail on why they can be so bad for you. So I thought, today, I’d have a little go. And it’s just one of these things… Unfortunately, the things that we like, very often, tend to be the things that are quite not so good for us.

Drink No.1 – Coffee

So let’s look at coffee first. The problem with coffee is mainly the caffeine, and caffeine is a stimulant. And we know that going through the menopause, our nervous system is going to be really stressed just by itself because of all the hormonal changes going on. And if you drink coffee on a regular basis, your nervous system is going to get wound up and wound up and wound up. And that will give you symptoms like flushes, palpitations. It can give you headaches. It can give you itchy skin, and it can interfere with your sleep. And we know that even drinking a cup of coffee early afternoon, it can take the body such a long time to process everything that there can be still caffeine whizzing in your system as you go to bed. So an early afternoon cup of coffee can actually be one of the reasons why you may not be sleeping particularly well at this time.

Drink No.2 – Tea

We’ve also got tea. Now tea is possibly not quite so bad as long as, unlike me, you like builder’s tea and you like it really, really strong, because there’s still a good amount of caffeine in tea too. And that is going to give you exactly the same symptoms. And I know, you know, if you’re like me, I tend to like a cup of tea early evening. But that can actually be enough to interrupt your sleep and cause wakeful moments during the night as well.

Decaffeinated coffee and tea

Now, people often say to me, “Can I not take decaffeinated coffee and decaffeinated tea?” The problem with decaffeinated coffee is, very often, the caffeine is extracted using chemicals, and you then end up getting chemicals from the extraction process rather than the caffeine. So you’re still getting a little bit of pollution, if you like, from the actual coffee.

Decaffeinated tea is possibly not quite so bad because good quality tea will be reasonably high in antioxidants, so you will get a nice little benefit from that. But too much tea will actually wash minerals like calcium and magnesium out of your body. And remember, at this time, calcium and magnesium are so important for your bone health, for your muscles, for your mood and for sleep as well. Magnesium is really important one to help you calm your down before you go to bed at night. So drinking a lot of tea, even if it’s decaffeinated, is not particularly good.

Remember too, that green tea has a little bit of caffeine in it as well. So although you could possibly drink more cups of that during the day, I would still avoid having a green tea in the evening and go maybe for some kind of herb tea.

Drink No.3 – Fizzy drinks

Now what about fizzy drinks? Well, oh dear, no, no, no, for several different reasons. Your fizzy drinks have even either got loads of sugar in them, I think some of them have something like eight teaspoons of sugar per can. Now sugar is a real culprit for triggering hot flushes and night sweats. Loads of sugar will shoot your blood sugar levels up which will give you a big hit of energy. And after maybe half an hour or so, you’re gonna feel like you want to sleep under the table. It’s really bad for you. Sugar can also cause problems with your joints, with your digestion, and also your skin too. It can really cause kind of motley skin and itchy skin.

Artificial sweetners

But I hear you say, “But I am taking artificial sweeteners.” No, artificial sweeteners are artificial. So why would you want to put anything artificial into your body? Artificial sweeteners are now known… There’s a lot of research coming out about this now. So, you know, look out for, in women’s magazines and the newspapers, they are beginning to realize that artificial sweeteners can interfere with your blood sugar controls which are often upset anyway because of the hormonal changes. And that can actually make you put on weight. So you may well be drinking sugar-free fizzy drinks thinking that you’re doing yourself a favor, and that may well be contributing to your weight gain or the fact that you can’t actually lose weight as much as you can.

The other problems with fizzy drinks is that they contain something called phosphorous, and phosphorous is very acidic and that can actually start to attack your bones. And in the menopause, we already have the possibility of weakening bones because of osteoporosis. So fizzy drinks are really something that should not be touched at all during the menopause, and leading up to the menopause. Because if you’ve been drinking fizzy drinks for a long time, then, you know, your bones and your blood sugar control may be even slightly weakened before you actually hit the menopause.

Drink No.4 – Fruit juices & smoothies

And last, but…oh, not quite last, but nearly, is fruit juices. And a lot of people actually say to me, “Well, I have a smoothie every day or I have a juice every day. That surely can’t be bad for me.” Now, smoothies are not so bad because you are using the whole fruit and vegetable. But fruit juices, even if you juice yourself or if you get these juices from cartons, you get a lovely range of vitamins and minerals in them, but they are very high in sugar because there is no fibre in them. And if you have a glass of fruit juice, that is going to give you one really big sugar hit. And in a way, although you’re getting the health benefits, you will get roughly the same reaction, sugar-wise, as you would from drinking a can of fizzy juice. So fruit juices, I would…you know I don’t drink them at all and I just advice people to really cut down and only have them occasionally, as a little bit of a treat.

Fruit smoothies, as I said before, you’re getting loads of benefits from the fibre, the vitamins and the minerals. But if you have only fruit and you’re having one or two of those a day, then again, you’re getting a huge sugar hit. And at the end of the day, once all this has been broken down, then the body can’t really distinguish between the sugar that you have got from your fizzy drinks to the sugar that you’ve actually got from your fruits. So, again, smoothies, try not to live on them, have them as a little added bonus to your healthy diet rather than a big focus for your diet.

Drink No.5 – Alcohol

And now, last but not least, is alcohol. And this is another one, oh dear, oh dear. Now I’m not saying don’t ever have drinks again because, you know, I do love a nice glass of wine occasionally. The problem with alcohol is that it’s masquerading as something that it’s not. And I know, you know, maybe Friday night and I would just think, “Oh, I’m going to go home, I’m going to sit down, I’m going to have a nice glass of wine.” And people do, in the assumption that it’s going to relax you. But the problem is that once you start to feel relaxed from that first glass of wine, the second part of the alcohol is going to start kicking in and this is the really destructive bit.

Alcohol is a depressant and you only need to have maybe more than one small glass. And instead of getting the benefits of feeling relaxed and slightly mellow, you’re going to start to feel really down. And you feel a little bit down and then you think, “Oh, I’ll just have another glass and I will feel better.” And this is where you can end up drinking more than you actually intended to on any particular occasion.

The problem with alcohol as well is that it will really affect your sleep quite badly. And I know a lot of people say, “Well, I have a little drink before I go to bed because it helps me sleep.” Yes, it probably knocks you out a lot quicker, so you get off to sleep really quickly instead of tossing and turning. But what alcohol does is it keeps you down in a very deep sleep, and that is not good because you’re not getting your REM sleep which is the sleep where you do the dreaming and the processing. You need REM sleep for your emotional health. And if you are in a very, very deep sleep because of the alcohol, you’re not going to get that benefit. The problem, again, at some point during the night, is that the alcohol will start to wear off. And you will come from a very deep sleep, and very often, you will be wide awake really, really quickly. And you will then find you’re tossing and turning all night and you can’t get back to sleep.

The other problem with alcohol is that it’s very dehydrating. And if you are already getting night sweats or you’re getting hot flushes, then drinking alcohol regularly is actually going to compound the problem as well.

When can you have these drinks?

So, on that depressing news, what can you do about all these drinks? If you want to have a little cup of coffee and, you know, a good cup of coffee for me is, “Oh, I so enjoy it,” but you have it early in the morning or reasonably early in the morning because that will then give your liver time to process the caffeine, so that it is not going to interfere with your sleep. One cup a day for most people will be absolutely fine.

One of the really important things as well is go for really good quality coffee. The reason being is that coffee, and unfortunately chocolate, both of those are probably the most highly chemically sprayed crops on the planet. And you will get residue of that in your normal coffee. So if you’re going to have coffee, have good quality and try to get organic coffee as well. And that way, you will be getting the nice benefits and the enjoyment of the coffee without quite so much of the bad effects from it.

As I explained with tea, you know, maybe start swapping. If you drink a lot of tea, then start swapping over to green tea. You’ve got loads of lovely herb teas as well that you can actually try too.

You could try:

Heath and Heather Organic Green Tea

A wonderfully refreshing green tea, this lovely brew is 100% organic and has a light and fragrant flavour – so not only is it bursting with health benefits, it’s enjoying to drink too!

If you’re looking at fruit juices, as I said before, just go for them occasionally, have them as a little bit of a treat.

And alcohol, if you want to have alcohol, then try, if possible, to just have one small glass. Again, go for organic wine, if possible, purely because the grapes will not have been sprayed with chemicals and you will get a much purer alcohol. And I do think that sometimes those hangovers that we get are not actually due to the alcohol but just the fact that the wine that we’ve picked has got an awful lot of chemicals in it.

Coffee substitute

The other thing you can look at, which I nearly forgot, obviously, a little bit of menopausal brain today, is you can look at coffee substitute. We do a lovely one called Bambu, which has no caffeine in it. And this is a nice one because you can actually drink it before you go to bed. So it’s nice and calming.

Bambu® coffee substitute
A tasty, instant and caffeine free alternative to coffee.
Bambu® is a 100% natural coffee alternative. The recipe was created by Alfred Vogel more than 50 years ago and contains organic chicory, Turkish figs, malted barley, wheat, and Greek acorns.

Remember to drink water

So I hope I haven’t depressed you too much with this. But, you know, if you do have a little lot of these drinks on a regular basis, then you might actually find that just cutting down slightly, and remember, drinking loads and loads of water, you might find that might be enough to ease your symptoms off.

So I look forward to seeing you next weekon A.Vogel Talks Menopause.

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Tell me more

How long do hot flashes last? It used to be said that menopause-related hot flashes fade away after six to 24 months. But for many women, hot flashes and night sweats often last seven years and may go on for 11 years or more.

The hormonal roller coaster that comes with the end of a woman’s childbearing years can trigger a range of hot flash symptoms. Up to 80% of women going through menopause experience hot flashes. Hot flashes, also known as vasomotor symptoms, are often described as a sudden sensation of heat in the chest, face, and head followed by flushing, perspiration, and sometimes chills. When a hot flash occurs during sleep, it can be accompanied by a drenching sweat. Such night sweats make it difficult to get a good night’s rest.The estimates of the duration of these symptoms come from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), a long-term study of women of different races and ethnicities who are in the menopausal transition. They were published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“The data from this study confirm what many women already know firsthand. Hot flashes can go on for years and take a toll on a woman’s health and well-being,” says Dr. JoAnn Manson, professor of women’s health at Harvard Medical School and professor of epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health.
The SWAN researchers found that some women are more likely to deal with long-term hot flashes than others. Women who had their first hot flashes before their menstrual periods ended had hot flashes for an average of nine to 10 years. When hot flashes didn’t start until after the last menstrual period, the average duration was only about three and a half years. But even on the short end of the spectrum, that’s a long time to deal with hot flashes and night sweats.
Women in the SWAN study who experienced hot flashes for a longer time tended to be current or former smokers, overweight, stressed, depressed, or anxious. Ethnicity also played a role. African American women reported the longest duration of hot flashes (averaging more than 11 years), while Japanese and Chinese women had hot flashes for about half that time.
The “reality check” the SWAN study provides on hot flashes should encourage women to seek solutions. If hot flashes and night sweats are really bothering you, don’t put up with them. Talk with your doctor about treatment options.

The most effective hot flashes treatment is estrogen-based hormone therapy, though it comes with several downsides. “While hormone therapy is very effective at relieving hot flashes, longer-term treatment carries an increased risk for breast cancer, and women at older ages have higher risks of stroke, blood clots, and other health problems. So it’s important that women explore a full range of treatment options — especially women likely to have persistent hot flashes,” advises Dr. Manson.

Several non-hormonal medications can also provide r hot flashes treatment and relief from night sweats. These include some types of antidepressants, some drugs commonly prescribed for nerve pain, and some high blood pressure medications. As with any medication, it’s best to opt for the lowest dose that effectively relieves your symptoms, and to take it for the shortest amount of time possible.

For some women, self-help measures can help ease hot flashes. These include deep-breathing exercises when a hot flash starts; dressing in layers; lowering the thermostat; staying away from caffeine, alcohol, hot beverages, and spicy foods; stress reduction techniques like meditation and mindfulness; and doing your best to stay cool in general.

A free mobile app called MenoPro, developed by Dr. Manson and her colleagues at the North American Menopause Society, helps women understand their treatment options and work with their healthcare providers to find the best approach for them. The app is currently available for iPhones and iPads. More information is available at the North American Menopause Society website.

9 Tricks to Outwit Your Coffee Sweats (Without Kicking the Habit)

Coffee is a staple in most American’s daily routine. Who doesn’t like an extra jolt of caffeine to kickstart the day cure the mid-afternoon slump? And while “a little coffee never hurt nobody,” too much could unleash the dreaded coffee sweats.

What Are Coffee Sweats?

Coffee sweating occurs from drinking excess caffeine — a key ingredient in most coffee beverages. As a stimulant, caffeine revs up your nervous system. And because of this heightened response, your body produces sweat to regulate your internal temperature.

So really, coffee sweating and caffeine sweating go hand-in-hand. And with 80 percent of American adults consuming caffeine every day, coffee sweats are a real and pervasive issue for many people.

How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?

The FDA defines “moderate” daily caffeine consumption as 100-200 mgs (1-2 cups) while the Mayo Clinic says up to 400 mgs is safe for healthy adults.

Some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine, especially those who don’t drink it regularly. Certain health conditions, medications, age and weight all influence your reaction to caffeine, according to the Mayo Clinic. That’s why your co-worker can guzzle Tumblers of black coffee like it’s no body’s business and half a cup leaves you dripping in sweat.

Fighting coffee sweats starts with striking the right caffeine balance for you; everyone’s threshold is different. To find your caffeine sweet spot, experiment to see what your body can tolerate without experiencing unfavorable effects.

Tips to Stop Coffee Sweats

If you sweat from drinking coffee, you might be consuming too much caffeine for your body to metabolize. But if you can’t seem to kick your coffee cravings, try these tips instead:

1. Brew Your Own

Unless you do your java research, it’s hard to know how much caffeine is lurking in your double espresso frozen caramel macchiato. Brew your own coffee to better control your caffeine intake.

2. Measure Your Grinds

If you shake some grounds into the filter “until it looks right,” you might be consuming extra caffeine. But how much? The only way to know for sure is to measure. Follow the measurement instructions outlined on the coffee container, and adjust up or down based on your sweating response.

3. Cut Back on Stimulants

If you drink caffeinated coffee coupled with other stimulants (like energy drinks, soda, pre-workout supplements, etc.), your caffeine intake could be too high. To curb the coffee sweats, try sticking to one caffeine source a day.

4. Switch to Tea

Some teas also contain caffeine — but only about half the amount as coffee. If you need to drink a hot beverage throughout the day, switch to tea to get a caffeine kick and appease your regular coffee habits.

5. Find a Decaf Alternative

Decaf might be the laughing stock of coffee lovers, but if your body can’t take the heat from caffeine, it’s is worth a try.

6. Reduce the Brew time

For brewing methods like French press and pour over — where the beans and water make contact — brew time matters. Allowing the water and grinds to sit for too long can extract a little more caffeine. Cut down the brew time to reduce the caffeine and extra sweat.

7. Eat With Your Coffee

Coffee sweats result from your body metabolizing caffeine. Having a food buffer with your morning Joe can slow the caffeine absorption rate and reduce your coffee sweats. Learn 10 foods that reduce sweating.

8. Swap Coffee for Low-Dose Caffeine Pills

I haven’t tried this hack, but caffeine pills do allow you to control your caffeine intake and potentially reduce sweating as a result. If the heat from coffee also makes you sweat, subbing the warm stuff for a pill could reduce your sweating.

9. Get Some Extra Sweat Protection

If you can’t live without coffee or just want an extra layer of sweat defense, try a sweat proof undershirt. Thompson Tees contain an underarm barrier that absorbs sweat and releases it as vapor — so you literally forget you’re sweating. Whether coffee makes you sweat just a little bit more or leaves you drenched, Thompson Tees can help.

While these suggestions might seem simple, the key is to find your caffeine balance. Trying just a few of these could drastically reduce your coffee sweats.

What other tips do you have for curing caffeine sweats?

Coping with cancer

Hot flushes are sometimes a side effect of having low levels of hormones.

Some cancer treatments can lower the levels of sex hormones in the body. The sex hormones are oestrogen and progesterone in women, and testosterone in men. The cancer treatments include hormone treatments for prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer needs testosterone to grow. Hormonal treatments aim to:

  • stop the testicles from making testosterone
  • stop testosterone reaching cancer cells

How hot flushes may feel

Hot flushes can vary from one person to another. They can start as a feeling of warmth in your neck or face. This often spreads to other parts of your body. You might have:

  • reddening of the skin
  • light or heavier sweating
  • feelings of your heart beating in your chest (palpitations)
  • feelings of panic or irritability

Hot flushes can last between 2 to 30 minutes. You may have a few a month or more often. The flushes usually last for a few months but for some people they carry on for longer.

They can be disruptive and might make sleeping difficult.

Causes of hot flushes

Research suggests that low oestrogen in women can cause low levels of a hormone called norepinephrine. This hormone is found in the brain (area called the hypothalamus) and helps your body to regulate its own temperature. Low levels of norepinephrine may lead to increases in core body temperature. This increase in temperature can cause a hot flush.

Doctors need more research in men to see if low testosterone in men has the same role in causing hot flushes.

Some treatments such as goserelin (Zoladex) cause hot flushes in most men. Treatments called anti androgen drugs (such as bicalutamide) are less likely to cause hot flushes but can do so for some men.

For many people, hot flushes gradually get better over several months. For some people the flushes last as long as they are having treatment, although they do tend to happen less often over time.

Tips to help with hot flushes


  • Keep your room cool – use a fan if necessary.
  • Wear layers of light clothing so you can easily take clothes off if you overheat.
  • Have layers of bedclothes to remove as you need to.
  • Wear natural fibres such as silk or cotton instead of synthetic (artificial) fabrics.
  • Have a lukewarm shower or bath instead of a hot one.
  • Put a towel on your bed if you sweat a lot at night.
  • Cooling pads can help to keep you cool.
  • Try to stay calm under pressure as heightened emotions can cause a hot flush to start.
  • Cut out coffee, tea and nicotine.
  • Sip cold or iced drinks.
  • Try to drink alcohol in moderation.

Treatment for hot flushes


National guidelines advise medroxyprogesterone 20mg per day as the first choice of treatment. Your doctor should review this medication after 10 weeks.


Your doctor may offer cyproterone 100mg per day if the medroxyprogesterone has not worked for you.

Cyproterone is used to stop the adrenal gland from making testosterone. It can also reduce hot flushes in men. This medicine may not be suitable for everyone.

Medroxyprogesterone and cyproterone are the most effective in controlling hot flushes.

Anti depressant medicines

Research shows that these drugs can be helpful in treating hot flushes in men with prostate cancer. Examples are venlafaxine and paroxetine.


US studies have shown that Gabapentin can be helpful in controlling hot flushes. This is not licensed in the UK.

Other progestogens

Your doctor may consider these medicines for very severe hot flushes if other treatments have not helped you.

Complementary therapies for hot flushes

There is limited scientific evidence that complementary therapies can help hot flushes in men with prostate cancer.


Small studies suggest people experience less extreme hot flushes whilst having acupuncture.

Cognitive behavioural therapy

This treatment suggests there is a link between your thoughts and actions. It focuses on calming your body and mind and keeping a positive outlook. This may help with hormonal symptoms such as hot flushes.

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