Every woman experiences menopause differently. It is not a condition that can be cured, but it is a natural process that can be managed and treated in multiple ways. Health professionals are still unsure of the exact cause of many menopausal symptoms. For this reason, it is often a process of trial and error to figure out the best remedies for hot flashes during menopause.
Hot flashes are sudden, intense feelings of heat spread over the body and are felt primarily in the head, neck, and arms. Not all menopausal women experience hot flashes, but they affect a large majority, and are for most women the most uncomfortable symptom of menopause. It is widely believed that the best way to treat hot flashes is through a healthy lifestyle and alternative medicine. There are also conventional treatments for hot flashes, but these carry more risks.
Therapies for Hot Flashes
Women may be seeking therapy for menopause symptoms; however, it is important to focus on the hormonal imbalance during menopause.
It is possible to learn more about how to counter these imbalances through different treatments. Therapies include both natural and pharmaceutical options, which will have different effects depending on the specific woman and her symptoms. Read on to find out more about these.
Hormone replacement therapy
HRT is a combination of estrogen and progesterone (synthetic hormones). It is a potent and effective way to deal with hot flashes, but should only be used as a short term measure. Several studies have found risky side effects attached to the long-term use of these drugs.
Antidepressants have been proven to reduce the number and severity of hot flash episodes during menopause. However, antidepressants have side effects, which may range from headaches and nausea to loss of appetite and insomnia.
Alternative treatments, like herbal remedies, are very effective in treating menopause symptoms, and they are not linked to health risks.
There are two common types of herbal supplements for menopause symptoms:
These are herbal therapies such as black cohosh and dong quai that contain estrogenic components and treat low hormone levels by replacing them. However, as they involve additional hormones in the body, they can decrease the body's ability to produce its own hormones.
These supplements don't contain any estrogen, they help your hormonal glands to naturally produce more hormones, and restate the natural balance.
Choosing a Hot Flash Therapy
Every woman experiences hot flashes differently, so the efficacy of the therapy options outlined will differ from woman to woman. Before considering any therapy, it is important to adopt preventative measures to try to ease your hot flashes. There are many natural ways to overcome hot flashes that involve simple lifestyle changes - an exercise routine and a healthy diet - and are effective in re-balancing hormone levels. These lifestyle changes should accompany herbal therapy to alleviate hot flashes more effectively. Prescription medications, although effective, may cause more problems for women during and after menopause.
Follow the links below to learn more about hot flashes and treatments.
- "Hot flashes ... in January". Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2004: 170 (1).
- Miller, Heather and Rose Maria Li, M.D. "Measuring Hot Flashes: Summary of a National Institutes of Health Workshop". Conference report. Mayo Clinic. June 2004: 79.
- Sikon, Andrea and Holly Thacker M.D. "Treatment for Menopausal Hot Flashes". Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. July 2004: 71 (7).