It’s Getting Hot In Here

First off, what do hot flashes mean to you? Hot flashes are described as intense warmth on the skin to a patient. There is warmth that can be felt on the face and upper body at times. Skin reddening and intense sweating can occur. It's not uncommon for men and women to describe hot flashes in very similar ways.

Androgen deprivation therapy and hot flashes

Many cancer treatments that are administered come with side effects. Some of the side effects can be severe. Patients may risk the recurrence of the cancer by quitting therapy.

There is a treatment called androgen deprivation therapy. This treatment is given to prostate cancer patients. Those who are unfortunate enough to have the disease can progress to an advanced stage.

One common side effect of ADT is hot flashes. In fact, at least 70 percent of men who receive androgen deprivation can suffer from hot flashes.1 The normal way the nervous system sends out signals in our thermal control center can be disrupted by the sudden hormonal imbalance caused by ADT.

Identifying other causes

Some causes of hot flashes can include:

  • Cancer and treatments associated with it
  • Male menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Diet and weight
  • Medications
  • Stress
  • Infections
  • Hyperthyroidism

Finding ways to cope

There can be different ways to cope with or manage hot flashes, including:

  • Checking the current medication that you are taking. Are hot flashes a side effect? If they are, you can discuss with your doctor about an alternative medication, dosage, or timing.
  • Seeing if any other underlying conditions could be behind the hot flashes
  • Determining whether specific foods could worsen or stir the hot flashes
  • Taking time to relax and step away from stress
  • Identifying potential patterns or other factors in which hot flashes occur
  • Exercise
  • Wearing clothing in layers so you can remove a layer when you overheat
  • Taking a shower or bath using lukewarm water instead of hot water
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation, as alcohol can negatively impact your body's thermal control center
  • Utilizing a fan to keep your environment cooler

Other options

It's also possible a doctor may consider using drugs meant for other ailments to help you. They could be anti-seizure medications or antidepressants, among other options. This is something that can be discussed with your doctor.2

Finding out what triggers your hot flashes can be a way to start if you want to manage them. Do you know what your triggers are? Your doctor can try to diagnose your hot flashes based on your descriptions.

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