tropical moments/hot flushes getting me down...

Hi Ladies, Anyone out there suffering from almost unbearable hot flushes? I am 46 and mine started around 1 month after my first fec,after chemo finished i started tamoxifen and the sweats are really getting me down.I dont feel as though i can live a normal life,Im having at least 15 during the day some more severe than others,i work as a receptionist in a beauty salon and my make up has sweated off before At night im suffering 5or6 a night and therefore i am really tired.Is this usual with tamoxifen or should i see my gp?Also any tips would be greatly appreciated.x

Mine aren’t as bad as yours, but they are stopping me sleeping as I am tossing around throwing the covers off and feeling agitated. Then during the day it feels like I have 'flu - the sort of hot you get from that. I feel as if everyone must be able to see my face going red, but my skin doesn’t feel hot even though I think it is. I’ve tried taking my pills at different times of the day, I"ve tried drinking more water, less fat, more fruit etc. But the one thing that does make a difference for me is stopping tea. I tried it over two days and the result was very quick (I also tried de-caf tea, but that didn’t make a difference). I LOVE tea and so go without it, then allow myself a cup and live with the consequences. It is best for me to have it in the morning (I take my tamoxifen at 5pm)

I also read here (about 6 months ago) that someone was told that tea and tamoxifen should be kept well away from each other. I wonder if it is the tannin (not the caffeine) as I can still drink coffee in moderation.

Anyone else have any thoughts?


Hi I have been getting really bad hot flushes as well but my cancer was TN so not on hormone tablets!! Periods stopped after 1st chemo and haven’t returned finished in Sept I am 48 so assuming have been pushed into early menopause??? Is there anything doctor can do as I hadn’t thought about going to see GP.

Hello Lynda

I had an early menopause (46) with immediate, very severe hot flushes and sweats - (up to 100 a day). I was put straight onto HRT which seemed to suit me very well and it stopped the flushes. I probably stayed on the HRT too long because I got BC. We shall never know for sure if it was the HRT which caused the bc but it’s possible.

So I obviously had to stop the HRT and I’m on Aromasin now - and again I have horrendous hot flushes and sweats. Embarrassing - I have been known to literally drip sweat onto them as I lean over my students to look at their work. And Lynda - my make up used to run down my face and drip off my chin !!

I agree with Annie that having less caffeine can make a difference. Stopping alcohol also helps. In addition I am prescribed Propantheline by my GP. This cuts down the amount of sweat you produce although you still have the feeling of heat, discomfort and red face but there’s much less sweat. It does give you a dry mouth but as long as you drink lots of water that’s no problem.

Good luck

Anthi x

Try Accupuncture. My v staid, traditional onc suggested and it has made a huge difference for me. Drs don’t really understand why but there is a lot of evidence to support this

Bless you all
I,m suffering badly with them too but i,m on Letrozole…
I,d already gone thro the change (i,m 61) and had been on HRT too
so the flushes came back after i,d stopped that… worse than they were before i,d started taking it… And yes it makes you wonder as I then got BC…
I sweat everywhere even the backs of my hands!! and i,ve developed what seems like a second armpit… in the crease of my elbow!!!
I literally drip! God that sounds so awful does,nt it How glamourous!!
I was told at the breast clinic that Evening primrose helps a lot… i,ve been taking it “When I remember” and I think the night sweats are easing… a bit!!!
But i,m still suffering the day sweats about 10 a day on a good day 15 on a bad.
I do hope they settle soon as its quite debilitating and so unpleasant.
Love to you all my sweaty BC buddies xxxxhugxxxx Doz

Hi Ladies, I’m with you all on this, even the dripping. Some are so bad the heat from my chest steams my glasses up.
I had them for 4 years now, during which time I’ve had Tamoxifen, FEC, Arimidex, Aromasin and Letrozole, am now on Faslolex injections. I havent tried anything to ease them as I dont want to take anything at all that may interfere with my anti hormones.
One of the Macmillan nurses told me that I could get referred for Homeopathic treatment to help the flushes. Again I’ve chosen not to do this, but it may be an option that others of you may wish to explore.
Lynda, as for the make up - I dont wear much, but I did find swapping to a powder/mineral foundation helped as its just powder,so cant slide very far, and very easy to brush more on.
Just a thought, its a pity we cant find a way to plug ourselves into the national grid when the power surges strike, we could probably provide enough power to get free electric.

Love to all xxxxx

Aww…Thankyou ladies for all your responses.At least i now know im not alone.I will try the powder foundation and i can live without tea i think.Not too sure about coffee though or alchohol,haha.A friend at work has also suggested that i try yoga,she has given me some dvds so i shall give them a try and let you know if it does any good.Seems though that these tropical moments of mine are something im going to have to learn to live with as im only one year into my bc treatment.Hey ho!!! At least im still alive…x

I have just read all your posts on this as it is really getting me down too. I haven’t slept for months with having had surgery, chemo and now herceptin and tamoxifen. The hot sweats are almost constant 24 hours a day. I feel depressed and find myself crying most days, infact give me chemotherapy any day of the week cause i felt much better and happier whilst having FEC. I have been strong right from the very start and everyone keeps telling me how unbelievably calm i am and how good i am handling everything, but i really dont know how much longer i can carry on cause these sweats are horrific. I have only been on tamoxifen for 3 weeks, please please help me, i have 2 young boys (11 & 7)and being this down now is helping nobody and i just dont know what to do. I have also suffered since my op with constipation for which i have been prescribed stuff but for the past couple of days i have gone the other way. Sorry i am really feeling sorry for myself at the moment and i hate to moan cause there are people a lot worse out there than me!!!

First few weeks of Tamoxifen I had some horrible hot flushes, day and nighttime. They started settling down.
I still get some in the nighttime and that disrupts my sleep but we’re sleeping in the living room whilst having work done on house and we have a woodburner in there, so think some is to do with that right now.

I sympathise because I was dripping in sweat and it was miserable and horrible and I was paranoid I smelt.

TFIThursday - Sorry to hear your going through a bad time with the SE, I would go back to your Dr and get something to make you feel better, on other threads women talk about getting anti-depression drugs that help lift the mood and stop the hot flushes, I’ve only been on tamoxifen for the past 6 weeks so thought I’d give it a bit more time to settle down but if I still feel like this in a months time I shall be going to the Dr and getting the anti-depressant tablets, my theory is if it makes you feel better than take it, basically anything too alleviate the nasty SE. I am also on herceptin and have been on this since the dx back at the beginning of March this year.

I’ve been having hot flushes for months now ever since chemo put me into early menopause, tried the magnet (look up ladycare magnet for more info) which initially worked for me but now its not working, I take my tamoxifen tablet in the morning but some women get less SE if they take them late at night or split the tablet and take half in the morning and half at bedtime.

Hope this helps
love and light
Sarahlousie xxxx

Sarahlouise - the ladycare magnet is not recommended if you are hormone positive.

TFIThursday - yes as Sarahlouise says there are many different drugs you can try from your GP to help with the hot flushes. I had clonidine a couple of years ago which worked brilliantly for six months then stopped working for me. I tried amytriptiline, which works for others, but didn’t work for me, in fact it made the flushes worse. Now I am taking citalopram, which is a low dose antidepressant, and is keeping the hot flushes at a manageable level. There are various others that you can try.

You could also try:
Different brands of tamoxifen - trial & error to find the one that suits you best. I have a standing instruction with my pharmacist to get me APS as that is best for me.
Taking the tamoxifen at different times - evening/morning
You can split the dose - I have mine prescribed in 10mg tablets, and I take them both morning & night as this works better for me.
Chillow - I have two, so when I wake in the night I can swap them over and have a fresh cool one to put on my pillow
Acupuncture - works for some
Evening primrose oil - again works for some
Menopace (from boots) - bit contraversial but my onc says it is safe to take as long as you are taking tamoxifen

I am sure others can come up with other ideas. Don’t forget the basic one of layering your clothes - I never wear jumpers anymore, cardigans are much easier to strip off when you get hot. If I am going somewhere unfamiliar I make sure I have something short sleeved on underneath my cardigan/jacket so I can cope with whatever the temperature.
Last night I was at the pub, and ended up standing outside in my T shirt for a couple of minutes to cool down.

Hot flushes are horrible, and if you suffer from them all through tamoxifen, that is a long time, so you need to find coping strategies. I hope the above list helps you to find a way of living with them. I am now into my last year of tamoxifen, due to finish October 2012, and over the last four years there have been times when I have nearly given up, but have always managed to find something to calm them down enough to carry on as I know how beneficial the drug is.

Hi Roadrunner,

I am hormone positive and asked my Onc about the ‘ladycare’ magnet and he said it was ok for me to use, seems to me some say yes some say no, but no one has a definate answer about the magnet and its use for hormone positive ladies. thanks for the list of things to try I will definately try the acupuncture and the anti depressant tablets.

Love and light
Sarahlousie xxx

Hi all, i’m now approaching 2 years post treatment.Whoopee! I had a quandrandectomy in August 09, chemo followed by rads.
I can honestly say that throughout the whole of my BC journey the worst part for me, were the hot flashes. I also dripped enough for it to run of the end of my nose. How MORTIFYING!!!
I am also taking citalopram to alleviate the intesity and also believe different brands of tamoxifen can have a huge effect on your flashes & other side effects and I also have a standing instruction with my pharmacist to get me the APS brand.
My periods stopped after my second chemo, over 2 years ago now and I remember reading that the menopause could last up to 10 years but when it has been medically induced it is common for them to be so much more intense but on the other hand shorter lived, 2 years on average; and that is exactly what happened with me. It was HELL for 2 yrs but I can honestly say over the past 3 months or so, they’re hardly noticeable anymore. :slight_smile:
PS I found a wet flannel beside the bed was brilliant, I would wipe myself down with it whilst laying on the bed it really helped to cool me down.
Big hugs to you all
Stella X


Unfortunately for some of us the tamoxifen induced flushes continue for the five years of tamoxifen. I was put into menopause Aug 2007 by chemo no 5, I started tamoxifen Oct 2007, and the hot flushes have never abated.

The leaflet that comes with tamoxifen says that it can cause moderate to severe hot flushes, that for some women these will abate after a while, but for others they will continue all through the course of taking the drug. I fall into the latter category, and without other medication they are definitely severe. It really sucks.

Venlafaxine 37.5mg. Speak to your onc / GP. It’s an anti-depressant but at a low dose can be very effective for hot flushes.

Laurie x

Hi Girls
I think we all have to remember we are all different and some will say goodbye to the flushes earlier than others…
I do think its worth having a chat with Dr’s or BC Nurses to see if there is an alternative medication… not all prescribed drugs are suitable for everyone and just changing to a different brand or tablet (as there are different choices) can possibly help.
I,m back next week for my 1st check up and the hot flushes are a problem so i,ll discuss this when i,m there GULP!!!
hugs to all xxxxxxxxx Doz

i started tamoxifen roughly i month after i finished my chemo in September .and suffer badly from hot flushes still . but when first on them they made me ermmmmmmmm emotional/tearful/snappy but those side effects went after about 5/6 weeks .
i did wonder at first if it was IV herseptrin i.m having every 3 weeks but was advised by my ONC it’s the tamoxifen and he could swap them for another make/brand if needed
huggs to you all

for ladies that mention taking citlopram, can i ask what dose u r on and if u get any side effects from it?

I think my dose is 10mg (at work so can’t check the box). I have not had any side effects from it.