Vasomotor symptoms such as hot flushes and profuse sweating have been described after bilateral orchiectomy. We evaluated 26 patients who had undergone bilateral orchiectomy for prostatic carcinoma to determine the incidence of vasomotor symptoms and the efficacy of low-dose diethylstilbestrol (DES) in the treatment of those symptoms. Measurements of serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and testosterone were performed to look for endocrine patterns which may be related to the presence of vasomotor symptoms. Fourteen patients (54%) reported the presence of vasomotor symptoms beginning one to four weeks after surgery. These patients were treated with DES or placebo in a double-blind crossover trial. The frequency and severity of hot flushes were significantly reduced during the time DES was given. This was accomplished with a low dose of 1 mg daily of DES which avoids the cardiovascular complications of higher doses. We found no correlation between the presence, severity, or frequency of hot flushes and serum gonadotropin or testosterone concentrations.
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