- Question from Nelly: Are there any good holistic treatments for hot flashes?
- Answers - Patricia Johnson Hot flashes can be very difficult to treat, not only in breast cancer patients, but also in menopausal women in general. The most commonly recommended supplements include Vitamin E, up to 1,000 mg a day, and an herb called Black Cohosh, both of which may be helpful for many women. The most helpful supplement that I have found is the simple addition to the diet of soy. Soy in a natural state, such as soymilk, or soy found in tofu, seem to be more helpful than soy found in capsule form at the health food stores. Frequently, one or two glasses of soymilk per day can be extremely helpful in decreasing hot flashes.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. The safety of using plant-like estrogens, such as those found in soy, remains somewhat controversial, if you have had a hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. The amount and kind of soy that you want to take is something that should be discussed with your physician or nutritionist.
- Patricia Johnson I agree. Using soy as a whole product, such as soymilk, includes the entire plant, which is thought to be safer, especially in the setting of breast cancer, than the concentrated capsule form.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. I agree completely. It doesn't make sense to eat an unhealthy diet and try to make it healthier by adding supplements. A diagnosis of breast cancer can offer a good opportunity to look at the quality of the food you're eating and to try to figure out how to make your diet healthier. Soy sources of protein like tofu are probably a much healthier source of protein than a fat, juicy steak. Most soy products have no cholesterol and very little fat.
- Dan Benor Other holistic approaches that can help with hot flashes include imagery, meditation, and relaxation, which can all be helpful in dealing with many pains, discomforts, and hormonal changes. When the body is more relaxed, we handle stress better both emotionally and physically.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Complementary and Holistic Treatments featured Daniel Benor, M.D., Patricia Johnson, M.D., and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about what complementary and holistic treatments are, how to find reliable practitioners, and which might be the best treatments for you.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in October 2002.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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