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Side Effects

Managing Hot Flashes and Sweating

Managing hot flashes and sweating might include taking medicines to treat the underlying cause of the symptoms, if possible, or medicines to help with the symptoms themselves. Making certain lifestyle changes might be helpful as well. Talk to your cancer care team about the right treatment for you.


Sometimes medicines can be used to help with hot flashes. These can be classified as either non-hormone therapy or hormone therapy. Because every person's situation is different, it's important to talk to your cancer care team about what might be best for you.

Non-hormone therapy

  • Prescription medications, such as low doses of certain anti-depressant and high blood pressure medicines, as well as some other medicines, have been shown to help with hot flashes in some people.
  • Over-the-counter medications, such as fever reducers or mild pain relievers, might be recommended by your cancer care team.

Certain vitamins, minerals, and other supplements have been suggested as being helpful for sweating and hot flashes. Some might help, but it's important to talk with your doctor about whether they are safe for you to take.

Hormone therapy

Medicines containing hormones might be prescribed to replace the hormones that have been lost because of surgery or other treatments. Whether this might be an option for you depends on the type and stage of your cancer, as well as other factors. It's important to talk with your doctor about your situation, about the pros and cons of taking these drugs, and the side effects they might cause if your treatment plan includes them.

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes that might be helpful in reducing hot flashes or sweating for some people include:

  • Losing weight
  • Being physically active
  • Therapies such as acupuncture, massage, yoga, and cognitive behavioral interventions
  • Avoiding certain foods that might trigger hot flashes, such as spicy foods
  • Avoiding alcohol and tobacco

What the patient can do

Take medicine to reduce fever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), if your health care team says it's OK for you to do so. Depending on what is causing your sweating or hot flashes, there may be different ways you can help manage them.

  • Take all medicines as prescribed.
  • Talk to your doctor before trying any over-the-counter medicine, or any vitamin, mineral, or nutritional supplement that you think might help.
  • Talk to your doctor if your antiperspirant or deodorant is not working well.
  • Track episodes of sweating and hot flashes.
  • If your sweating is from fevers, take and track your temperature as instructed.
  • Dress in 2 layers of clothing in cooler temperatures. The layer on the inside will act as a wick to pull moisture up and away from the skin. The layers on the outside can be removed as needed.
  • Change wet clothes and bed linens as soon as you can.
  • Take good care of your skin and use good personal hygiene. For example, if you’re sweating a lot, bathe or shower at least once a day and put on a moisturizer as needed to soothe your skin and for good hygiene.

What caregivers can do

  • Help the patient take and track their temperature, if needed.
  • Help the patient keep track of any sweating episodes.
  • Help the patient change wet clothes and bed linens.
  • Check the patient’s temperature by mouth a few times a day and in the evening.
  • Offer extra liquids to replace the fluid that’s lost through sweat.
  • Offer to help the patient bathe or shower if needed.

Call the cancer care team if the patient

  • Becomes dehydrated from frequent soaking sweats
  • Has a fever of 100.5°F or higher than usual for them or higher than a level instructed by the cancer care team (when taken by mouth) for more than 24 hours
  • Has tremors or shaking chills that don't go away

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

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Last Revised: May 17, 2023

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