When it comes to hot flash treatment, patience is essential. Because the duration and frequency of hot flashes can be unpredictable, it can take some time before a woman finds an adequate treatment. Fortunately, it is more than possible to find an effective treatment for hot flash relief.
In order to determine the most effective hot flash treatment, it is a good idea to begin by keeping track of the circumstances around which they occur so that one may successfully manage these episodes. For example, noting the time of the episode, current emotional state, stress levels, food and drink consumed before episode, clothing worn, methods of attempted relief, and whether or not they were successful are good things to jot down.
This information can help a woman to determine what is triggering her hot flashes, which may help her decide on an effective treatment. Continue reading to learn about the three main approaches to hot flash treatment.
Three Approaches for Treating Hot Flashes
A woman wishing to treat hot flashes has three categories of treatment available to her: (1) lifestyle changes, (2) alternative medicine, and (3) medications.
Women are encouraged to begin with the least risky approach to hot flash treatment, lifestyle adjustments. While they are often effective at curbing hot flashes, lifestyle changes alone do not address the underlying hormonal imbalance that causes them.
Fortunately, natural remedies can be combined with lifestyle changes to provide a low-risk and effective treatment. While medical intervention is not usually necessary to prevent hot flashes, some women may wish to consider medications if they are unable to find relief from natural hot flash treatment. For women considering this option, it is important to understand and carefully weigh the risks associated with such treatments.
1. Lifestyle Changes for Hot Flashes
Lifestyle changes are the first level of treatment. While this method is usually cost-free and virtually risk-free, it does require the greatest amount of self-discipline.
Daily behaviors can have a significant impact on a woman's experience of hot flashes. For example, eating a spicy dinner or having too many glasses of wine can trigger hot flashes. Increased stress due to work pressures or family obligations can also set off a hot flash. Lifestyle adjustments are two-pronged: some strategies focus on avoiding triggers, while others concentrate on promoting overall health.
- Dress in removable layers
- Wear breathable fibers
- Avoid constrictive clothing
- Reduce consumption of hot drinks
- Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake
- Turn down the thermostat
- Apply a cold, wet compress to cool down
- Avoid spicy or hot foods
Promoting Overall Health
- Practice slow, diaphragmatic breathing
- Eat a balanced diet
- Aim for 800 mg a day of vitamin E
- Watch intake of B vitamins
- Increase soy protein intake
- Exercise regularly
- Consider meditation, yoga, visualization, or other methods of stress relief
Making lifestyle changes to treat hot flashes is easier said than done. For example, some triggers can be hard to avoid: it may be simple to skip that extra glass of wine but virtually impossible to avoid work-related stress. It can also be difficult to suddenly and drastically change long-time habits and preferences.
Moreover, while these changes will help alleviate many symptoms, they do not address the root cause of hot flashes: hormonal imbalance. Fortunately, alternative medicine treatments are available to treat the underlying hormonal imbalance that causes hot flashes. This natural treatment has a much lower risk of side effects compared to medical hormonal treatments. Read on to learn more about natural treatments for hot flashes.
2. Alternative Treatments for Hot Flashes
Alternative approaches involve little to no risk and can be an effective way to treat hot flashes. This approach can involve several different therapies. Herbal remedies are the most prominent, though women may also turn to techniques like massage for stress relief. Most women find that herbal remedies are the easiest alternative treatment to follow, as the others require a greater time and monetary commitment. In addition, herbal remedies are the only viable option to treat the hormonal imbalance directly at the source.
In the case of herbal remedies, there are two types of herbs that can be used in the treatment of hot flashes: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating herbs. Phytoestrogenic herbs (e.g., black cohosh) contain estrogenic components produced by plants. These herbs, at first, do treat the underlying estrogen imbalance behind hot flashes by introducing these plant-based estrogens into the body. However, as a result of outside hormones being added, the body may become less capable of producing estrogen on its own. This causes a further decrease in the body's own hormone levels.
By contrast, hormone-regulating herbs do not contain any estrogen. These herbs stimulate a woman's hormone production by nourishing the endocrine glands, causing them to more efficiently produce natural hormones. This ultimately results in balancing not only estrogen, but also other pertinent hormones, such as progesterone. Hormone-regulating supplements (e.g., Macafem) can be considered the safest way to treat hot flashes naturally, as the body creates its own hormones and doesn't require any outside ones.
From Nature and Health Magazine, Dr. Chacon says:
"Macafem's nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which are basically resumed in taking synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production by inducing the optimal functioning of the pituitary and endocrine glands." Click on the following link if you want to learn more about Macafem.
A combination of approaches is usually the most effective treatment route to take. In other words, lifestyle changes combined with alternative medicine will most likely be the best way to alleviate the symptoms of this hormonal imbalance. While this pair is optimal for many women, others will find that they want or need to go to the third level of treatment.
Interventions at the third level typically involve the highest risk and often the highest costs. The most common drug therapy for hot flash treatment in the U.S. is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This may be a quick and strong method of hot flash relief, but, unfortunately, it entails serious side effects and increases the risk of different types of cancer among women, as the following study has shown.
In 1991, the National Institute of Health (NIH) launched the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), the largest clinical trial ever undertaken in the United States. The WHI was designed to provide answers concerning possible benefits and risks associated with use of HRT. This study was canceled in July 2002 after it was observed that synthetic hormones increased the risk of ovarian and breast cancer as well as heart disease, blood clots, and strokes. The findings were published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and many doctors have become more cautious about prescribing this treatment.
In addition to HRT, several other pharmaceutical drugs may serve as hot flash treatment options. These medications include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Blood pressure medications
- Mild sedatives
- Seizure medications
It is important to bear in mind that while all of these drugs have the potential to assist in the relief of hot flashes, they all carry a risk of side effects, some of which may outweigh any potential benefits. If hot flashes are at the level of severity that a woman wishes to consider this treatment option, it is wise to talk to a healthcare professional for guidance.
These three levels of approaches are not mutually exclusive. A woman may use different hot flash treatments at different times or any combination of them, depending on the duration and severity of her hot flashes. Today, more and more women find that dealing with hot flashes is best accomplished through a combination of healthy lifestyle changes and alternative treatments.
A Safe Way to Treat Hot Flashes
Hormone-regulating herbal supplements for treating hormonal imbalance, as seen in the second approach, are considered to be the most effective hot flash treatment. Low cost and the absence of side effects are only some of the reasons why this treatment option is preferred.
Macafem, for example, is an excellent hormone-regulating supplement. It's simple: rather than putting hormones from the outside into your body artificially, Macafem stimulates your hormone glands into producing the necessary hormones naturally. This is what makes Macafem so unique. Click on the following link if you want to learn more about Macafem.
- National Health Service UK. (2015). Hot flushes: how to cope. Retrieved March 15, 2016, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/menopause/Pages/hot-flushes.aspx
- National Institute on Aging. (2015). What Can You Do for Hot Flashes and Other Menopausal Symptoms. Retrieved March 15, 2016, from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause-time-change/what-can-you-do-hot-flashes-and-other-menopausal-symptoms
- Sikon, Andrea and Holly Thacker M.D. "Treatment for Menopausal Hot Flashes". Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. July 2004: 71 (7).
- Thurston, R.C. & Joffe, H. (2011). Vasomotor Symptoms and Menopause: Findings from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation. Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America, 38(3), 489-501. doi: 10.1016/j.ogc.2011.05.006