Hot flashes are a normal part of a woman's life from her late-40s to mid-60s. They can significantly affect your mood and even cause friction in your relationships. A hot flash can occur at any time and can leave you sweaty, red-faced, and uncomfortable. They happen frequently throughout menopause, affecting around three-quarters of all menopausal women.
Moderate hot flashes may be tolerable, but they can also be irritating and disruptive. Part of finding the best remedies for you involves discovering exactly how hot flashes are affecting your life. Keep reading to learn more about some easy, effective remedies.
Hot Flash Triggers
Hot flashes are related to a deficiency of estrogen, and they can be triggered by a variety of environmental factors, such as:
- Hot and spicy foods such as cayenne, ginger, and pepper
- Acidic foods such as tomatoes, pickles, and citrus
- Hot drinks and caffeine
- Excessive consumption of sugar
- Warm environments (e.g., saunas)
How to Contain Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are described by many menopausal women as the most uncomfortable symptom of menopause. Many ways of treating them have been suggested, but lifestyle changes and alternative medicine are the best way to help you deal with them.
Lasting from seconds to several minutes, hot flashes often begin with symptoms that may make you feel out of control. This feeling is often used by pharmaceutical companies to make medications look very attractive. However, prescription medication and surgery carry risks and side effects that should be avoided if possible. Here are some natural ways to fight hot flashes:
Soy. It is recommended that you get your soy intake from foods instead of supplements. In countries with a diet high in soy, not many women suffer from hot flashes. Any food that contains tofu, tempeh, miso, and soy beans can help.
Water. Keeping hydrated is integral for normal body functions and even more as a remedy for hot flashes because it keeps the body temperature down.
Exercise. At least 30 minutes of exercise from walking to running can help prevent hot flashes and keep you in good physical condition.
Dress in layers. This means that you can remove layers when you feel yourself getting too warm. Similarly, wear cotton clothes that allow your skin to breathe.
Hormone-regulating supplements. Using an herbal supplement alongside positive lifestyle changes makes a huge difference. Hormone-regulating herbs aid your pituitary glands to help your body create more estrogen. These supplements, such as Macafem, are better for you than phytoestrogenic herbs, such as black cohosh, which contain estrogen and can inhibit the body's ability to produce its own hormones.
Medications for Hot Flashes
In extreme circumstances, medications and surgery can be used to provide relief from hot flashes. Usually, this is through hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but there is evidence that the risks often outweigh the benefits. Always ask your doctor before using any such treatment.
It is highly recommended to first treat hot flashes with lifestyle adjustments and natural herbal supplements, before resorting to prescription medications or surgery. For more information on hot flashes and how to treat them, follow the links below.
- "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).