Hot flashes are brief but unsettling episodes that can have significant impact on a woman's daily life. Consequently many menopausal women can find themselves living in dread of them. The intense burning feeling in the head, neck, and chest, combined with shallow breathing and increased heart rate can cause panic and upset. Keep reading for some tips on dealing with hot flashes.
Certain adjustments to habits and lifestyle can reduce the frequency of hot flashes and even prevent them altogether.
Although studies verify that women who consume a lot of alcohol undergo more hot flashes, the scientific explanation remains unclear. The supposition is that alcohol disrupts sex steroid hormone levels. Estrogen levels are abruptly increased through alcohol consumption, but afterwards dramatically drop. This change results in an intense hot flash.
All caffeinated products, including tea and coffee, cause blood vessels to dilate, potentially worsening your hot flash symptoms. They also increases heart rate.
Smoking tobacco will increase your chances of having long, overwhelming hot flashes. Studies found that smokers are 60 - 85% more likely to have hot flashes than non-smokers. If you have tried quitting before but never found sufficient motivation, then this is the perfect time to follow through.
In addition to producing happy endorphins in the body, staying in shape will decrease your risk of hot flashes. Research verifies that an unusually high body mass index is one of the greatest risk factors for hot flashes.
Be ready for sudden hot flash episodes, at home, at work, or while out and about.
In the summer, make sure you have a fan or air conditioning on at a level you need to stay comfortable. In the winter, try to use a handheld fan to avoid your family getting cold.
Always have ice water handy and make sure you are drinking the equivalent of eight glasses a day. This will keep your body hydrated and cool.
This is the ultimate way of quickly bringing down your body temperature. It will be your best friend during a hot flash.
Your hot flashes are not in control of you - you are in control of your hot flashes.
Express your feelings
Your needs are number one when a hot flash arises. Tell your family and friends how you are feeling when a hot flash comes on; that way, they can help you through it.
Regularly practicing deep, slow breathing will help you overcome hot flashes. When an episode comes on, close your eyes, focus, and take fuller breaths.
Fresh air will help refresh you. Sometimes, hot flashes cause a claustrophobic feeling that can be hard to overcome. Going outside will make you feel open and free instead of feeling trapped by heat and sweat.
Take care of yourself and being prepared will help reduce the risk of hot flashes and tame them when they come. These steps will make you feel like you are in control of the episode. Hot flashes are a troublesome and unpleasant symptom, but you can manage them.
- Schilling, C. et al. (2007). Current Alcohol Use, Hormone Levels, and Hot Flashes in Midlife Women. Fertility and sterility, 87(6), 1483-1486. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2006.11.033
- Sood, R. et al. (2013). Paced Breathing Compared with Usual Breathing for Hot Flashes. Menopause, 20(2), 179-184. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e31826934b6
- Whiteman, M.K. et al. (2003). Smoking, Body Mass, and Hot Flashes in Midlife Women. Obstetrics and gynecology, 101(2), 264-272. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12576249