Hot flashes are a widespread symptom of menopause and can often be frustrating and disturb quality of life. The frequency, intensity, and duration of hot flashes are different for every woman. The causes and triggers also vary among women, and can include certain foods.
What Triggers Hot Flashes After Meals?
Foods and drinks that commonly cause hot flashes include:
- Hot peppers
- Coffee or tea
- Spicy foods
- Foods high in fat and sugar
- Processed foods
- Hot soups and drinks
Hot flashes can be triggered by many things, but food can play a big part in setting them off. Research has shown that consuming spicy food, alcohol, or caffeine can cause menopausal women to experience a hot flash. A hot flash episode after a meal typically begins with a sensation of intense heat in the upper body followed by a rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating, and flushing of the chest, neck, and face. Hot flashes can last anywhere between thirty seconds to several minutes and can vary in severity.
Consuming certain food and drinks can also result in night sweats. Night sweats are hot flashes that occur at night and often disrupt a woman while she is sleeping. There are several ways of dealing with both hot flashes and night sweats after meals.
Dealing with Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
- Identify certain triggers like alcohol and caffeine, and try to avoid or minimize them.
- Wear cotton clothing or garments made from natural materials that are not too tight.
- Incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
- Decrease consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and spicy food in the hours leading up to going to sleep.
- Avoid hot liquids three hours before going to bed.
- Wear lightweight and breathable pajamas.
As well as adopting these measures, hot flashes can be better managed by making lifestyle changes. A healthy diet, frequent exercise, and giving up smoking can each make a huge difference in alleviating your hot flashes after eating. Hot flashes should not rule your life, and you can remain in control by making some of the changes outlined above. Maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding triggers can relieve hot flashes and prevent future episodes.
Also, try eating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like seafood and flax seed. These help some women lessen their hot flashes after a meal. Following a Mediterranean diet and eating more fruits and vegetables in general can also reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes over time.
Treatments for Hot Flashes
The most effective treatment for hot flashes is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). However, because of HRT's side effects, many women choose lifestyle adjustments or herbal supplements along with or instead of it. Click on the link below in order to find different ways to deal with hot flashes.
- Cleveland Clinic. (2013). Non-hormonal ways to cope with hot flashes & menopause. Retrieved August 13, 2015, from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic-what-is-perimenopause-menopause-postmenopause/hic-non-hormonal-ways-to-cope-with-hot-flashes-and-menopause
- Lucas, M. et al. (2009). Effects of ethyl-eicosapentaenoic acid omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on hot flashes and quality of life among middle-aged women: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. Menopause, 16(2), 357-366. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181865386