Hot flashes during menopause are tough to deal with and can be exhausting. Though they are difficult to completely avoid, due to the extreme alterations in your body, their severity can be profoundly reduced. Working towards this goal requires your willingness to let go of or minimize a couple of habits that worsen them.
There are many common triggers that will make your body temperature even higher, heartbeat more rapid, and breathing shallower. If the heat is getting unbearable, start this process of elimination as soon as possible, and notice the improvements.
This popular stimulant that fuels millions of people through coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate is known to intensify hot flashes. The temporary boost through the day will make you feel awake and alert at first, but as these effects kick in, so does the heat. Your energy levels spike, which feels great initially, but you soon realize your heart rate and blood flow are increasing as well. You will become hot, irritable, and even panicky.
Alcohol is a major concentration when it comes to hot flash research. It is thought to be a significant modifiable risk factor. This means that, fortunately, you have the power to omit it. Excessively drinking any type of alcohol, but especially red wine, will make you equally red, hot, and sweaty. Although one glass should be harmless, you may want to stop there to keep cool - especially at night (to avoid night sweats).
Studies conducted with over a thousand women have confirmed that smoking cigarettes can result in frequent and relentless hot flashes. It can also destroy your lungs' ability to breathe deeply, which is crucial for calming down during an episode. If you have been looking for incentive to quit, this is it. Cut your hot flashes by up to 85% by putting down the cigarettes for good.
Thai, Indian, and Mexican food have wonderfully healthy options, but they are not a wise choice if you are prone to hot flashes. The hot spices will directly raise your body heat, and can have you running out of the restaurant sweating and hyperventilating. You also may want to remove hot red pepper, red chili powder, black pepper, curry powder, cayenne, wasabi, and hot mustard from your kitchen for now so it doesn't end up in your cooking.
High body mass index (BMI) is another strong risk factor for hot flashes. Even if you are not overweight, a sedentary lifestyle will make your body completely unprepared to handle the surge. About 30 - 40 minutes of cardio in 10-minute intervals every day will regulate blood and oxygen flow, which will balance your body heat overall. It also releases endorphins, which soothes anxiety. To further regulate, try a yoga session. Whether at home or at a studio, you will be deeply calmed by the release of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
Nothing will worsen every single symptom of hot flashes more than anxiety. In fact, anxiety can set them off like crazy and make you even more stressed; creating a vicious cycle. To combat this, make sure that you are deep breathing every single day. Paced breathing will deepen your inhales, slow your heart rate, and cool your body. Inhale fully, slowly, and deeply into your belly for five seconds, and exhale completely for five seconds for a span of 15 minutes.
Hot flashes can disrupt your professional, personal, and creative potential. The symptoms can make you less productive and unprepared to handle the tasks of each day. Discover which triggers are harming your lifestyle and adopt positive habits to reduce your hot flashes episodes.
- 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