Relief for women: Hot flash fixes

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

HOUSTON - Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause, but one that still catches many women off guard.

As a dog groomer, Gaby Etchevanne needs to keep her cool. That became all but impossible when the hot flashes hit two years ago.

"It's more than annoying because it really makes you feel so frustrated that it makes your life a little bit miserable. They need to do something. They need to come up with something new because whatever is on the market I try and nothing works," Etchevanne said.

There is new relief for Etchevanne and millions of other women are looking for a new prescription medication specially approved for treating hot flashes.

Endocrinologist Dr. Kenneth Gelman recently started prescribing Duavee, a first of its kind drug combination that's intended to block the potentially harmful effects of estrogen.

"I think it's going to be widely used all over the world because it targets woman's fears as well as their symptoms," said Gelman. "This will block the bad effects of estrogen on the uterus and block the effect of estrogens on breast tissue."

The drug is also FDA approved for Osteoporosis and is currently being studied in Britain as a possible breast cancer preventive drug.  That all sounds good to Etchevanne.

"Maybe this new drug hopefully will help me and a lot of other women," she said.

But what about natural treatments for hot flashes? A hormone-free product called I-Cool shows benefits in a recent study conducted by the manufacturer.

After 12 weeks, the women taking I-Cool had a reported 51 percent reduction in hot flashes and night sweats.

"I think it could work, because if you look at the structure of it ,the molecule of it, it mimics estrogen so you're going to get an effect," explained Naturopath Aaron Chadwick.

Vitamin giant Nature Made is surveying the benefits of a new product yet to hit the market called S-E-quol.

E-quol is the substance in soy that reduces the risk for breast cancer and hot flashes.

And there's always acupuncture. Chadwick says it's a safe alternative for the symptoms of menopause.

"It's not going into the body, so we don't have to worry about any negative side effects, so that's a great thing. And acupuncture works on the nervous system," Chadwick added.

A recent international study found acupuncture, done twice a week for two weeks did reduce hot flashes by stabilizing the body's temperature control system. 

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