How do integrative experts manage hot flashes?

Both medical groups and integrative experts provide recommendations for managing hot flashes. Learn more about the approaches and meanings of recommendations. Learn more about integrative oncology programs and expert guidelines

Clinical practice guidelines

For both men and women:

Psychosocial counseling (cognitive behavioral therapy)

Clinical hypnosis

For men:

Slow breathing techniques

Hypnosis

Weak recommendations for women with a history of breast cancer:

Physical activity

Acupuncture 

Electroacupuncture

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Hypnotherapy

Yoga

Not recommended or recommend against use for managing hot flashes:

Black cohosh

Homeopathy

Magnetic therapy

Omega-3 fatty acids

Phytoestrogens

Treatment options:

Acupuncture

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

Hypnosis for women

Maintain a normal body weight

Society for Integrative Oncology

Two guidelines make recommendations regarding treating hot flashes.

Clinical practice guidelines on the evidence-based use of integrative therapies during and after breast cancer treatment › This set of guidelines has been endorsed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).1Lyman GH, Greenlee H et al. Integrative therapies during and after breast cancer treatment: ASCO endorsement of the SIO clinical practice guideline. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2018 Sep 1;36(25):2647-2655.

Can be considered for improving hot flashes:

Acupuncture

Not recommended for hot flashes in breast cancer patients due to lack of effect:

Soy

Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for integrative oncology: complementary therapies and botanicals ›

Recommendation

Acupuncture for patients experiencing severe symptoms not amenable to pharmacologic treatment

Published programs and protocols

These protocolsa package of therapies combining and preferably integrating various therapies and practices into a cohesive design for care, programs, and approaches by leaders in integrative cancer care provide guidance for managing hot flashes.

We do not recommend specific integrative protocols or programs but provide information for you to evaluate with your healthcare team.

Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, and Karolyn Gazella

Approaches are described for certain cancer types, or along with certain conventional therapy treatments, or for particular conditions including hot flashes.

Barbara MacDonald, ND, LAc

MacDonald B. The Breast Cancer Companion—A Complementary Care Manual: Third Edition. Self-published. 2016.

Naturopathic physician Barbara MacDonald provides information about breast cancer, its conventional treatment, and natural approaches to enhancing treatment, managing side effects, reducing risk of recurrence, and healthy living after cancer treatment is completed.

This book mentions using these practices and therapies for managing hot flashes:

  • Scutellaria
  • Sage
  • Chaste tree berry
  • Honey and bee pollen
  • Chinese formulas like Guanyin Pearls, Liu Wei, Dihuang Wan or You Gui Wan with yin tonics and heat clearing herbs
  • Combining western formulas and homeopathy
  • Acupuncture
  • Avoiding caffeine, alcohol and sugar
  • Western herbal formulations such as Women’s Phase II and Fem Rebalance

Black cohosh might enhance the cytotoxicityhaving destructive action on certain cells; in cancer, cytotoxicity of tumor cells is one goal of treatment of Adriamycin and Taxol—both antitumor effects and side effects—and may reduce the cytotoxicity of platinum-based chemotherapy. Dr. MacDonald recommends avoiding black cohosh within 48 hours of chemotherapy treatments.

Neil McKinney, BSc, ND

McKinney N. Naturopathic Oncology, Fourth Edition. Victoria, BC, Canada: Liaison Press. 2020.

This book includes descriptions and uses of many natural and complementary protocols for cancer in general and for specific cancers. It also includes information on integrative support during conventional cancer treatment.

Gurdev Parmar, ND, FABNO, and Tina Kaczor, ND, FABNO

Parmar G, Kaczor T. Textbook of Naturopathic Oncology: A Desktop Guide of Integrative Cancer Care. 1st edition. Medicatrix Holdings Ltd. 2020.

This book provides information on the treatment of 24 cancers, plus the most effective treatments of the most common symptoms affecting cancer patients while they undergo chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or surgery.

These authors suggest using these practices and therapies for managing hot flashes:

  • Stress reduction
  • Exercise
  • Magnesium
  • Bioflavonoids including hesperidin and quercetin
  • Black cohosh
  • Ground flax seeds
  • Hops
  • Red clover
  • Honey and bee pollen
  • Vitamin E

Traditional medicine

Traditional systems such as Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine have protocols and therapies for managing hot flashes. Consult a traditional medicine professional for guidance. See Finding Integrative Oncologists and Other Professionals ›

Authors

Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher and Program Manager
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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher, program manager, and writer for CancerChoices. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher and Program Manager

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Reviewer

Susan Yaguda, MSN, RN

Manager at Atrium Health’s Levine Cancer Institute and CancerChoices Clinical Consultant
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Susan Yaguda, MSN, RN, has been a nurse for nearly 40 years, working in a variety of healthcare settings. She currently works in Charlotte, North Carolina, at Atrium Health’s Levine Cancer Institute as the manager for Integrative Oncology and Cancer Survivorship. She works with a multidisciplinary team to deliver holistic, evidence-based support and education for patients and care partners at any point along the trajectory of cancer care. She completed the Integrative Oncology Scholars Program through the University of Michigan in 2020, is certified as an Integrative Health Coach through Duke Integrative Medicine and has a post-graduate certificate in Nursing Education from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Susan also was awarded the Planetree International Scholar’s Award in 2018 and was recognized by the Daisy Foundation for Nurse Leadership in 2021. Susan has a particular interest in empowering patients and care partners with knowledge to help drive informed decision making and educating nurses on the benefits of integrative care for patients and self-care. She has presented nationally and internationally on integrative oncology and nursing education.

She and her husband, Mark, have two adult children and a very spoiled foxhound. She enjoys hiking, knitting, cooking, and pickleball.

“As a frequent consumer of Beyond Conventional Cancer Therapies, and now CancerChoices, for both professional education and patient support, it is an honor to have the opportunity to engage with the dedicated team at CancerChoices to serve those impacted by this disease.”  

 

Susan Yaguda, MSN, RN Manager at Atrium Health’s Levine Cancer Institute and CancerChoices Clinical Consultant

Last update: December 4, 2023

Last full literature review: April 2023

CancerChoices provides information about integrativein cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care, and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care. We review complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocialtherapy, and acupuncture therapies and self carelifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.

Our staff have no financial conflicts of interest to declare. We receive no funds from any manufacturers or retailers gaining financial profit by promoting or discouraging therapies mentioned on this site.

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