What Doesn't Work Against Hot Flashes

When women hit menopause, more than three-quarters experience sudden, intense feelings of heat and sweat. Those hot flashes continue to disrupt life for an average of 5 to 7 years.

Hot flashes are caused by reduced estrogen production, so women can take hormones to relieve them. But there are downsides to those hormones — two studies of more than 27,000 healthy women found hormone therapy increases the risk of urinary incontinence, dementia, and breast cancer — and an estimated 50 to 80 percent of women with hot flashes turn to nonhormonal therapies instead.

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