Whether you refer to them as hot flashes, hot flushes or night sweats, they are one of the most uncomfortable and common symptoms of the menopause. But just because these symptoms feel inevitable at a certain time of life, it does not mean that you cannot take measures to avoid them. Certain lifestyle and dietary changes can help a great deal if you are one of the millions of women affected.
What are Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes cause sudden warm sensations which are felt most intensely on the face, chest and neck. They often cause the skin to redden, cause you to sweat profusely and sometimes leave you feeling chilled.
Although it is possible for hot flashes to be cause by several hormonal conditions, they are most commonly caused by menopause. How often they occur varies a great deal from person to person but they can range from as many as once an hour to as few as once or twice a day.
They are more common during the night but can occur any time during the day. Women who get hot flashes usually experience them for over a year but they typically stop of their own accord within five years.
When a woman experiences a hot flush, they can experience one or more of the following uncomfortable symptoms:
- A sudden warm feeling over the upper body and the face.
- Reddened and blotchy skin.
- An elevated heartbeat.
- Profuse sweating especially on the upper parts of the body.
- A chilled sensation when the hot flash starts to subside.
I wish that I could tell you why so many people suffer from hot flashes while others going though menopause are lucky enough to avoid them entirely. Unfortunately, the definitive cause remains unclear. What we do know is that there are certain factors that can increase your chances of getting them. These include the following:
- Being overweight. Obesity and a high BMI is linked with a greater frequency of flashes.
- Smoking. Women who smoke are more prone to getting hot flashes.
- Lack of exercise can lead to an increased rick of hot flashes.
- Ethnicity. African-Americans are more likely to get hot flashes than Caucasian women while Asian women are the least likely to suffer.
Natural Remedies to Provide Relief from Hot Flashes
Fortunately, you do not need to sit idly by and wait for the inevitable. There are plenty of things that you can do to help you avoid getting hot flashes and reduce their frequency.
Eat the Right Stuff
Eating flaxseed has plenty of benefits one of which may be the reduction in hot flashes and their severity. Flaxseeds are high in phytoestrogens such as lignans which are believed to be responsible for their benefits to menopausal women.
In one study, 29 women suffering from hot flashes ate crushed flaxseed each day for six weeks. These women reported that their number of hot flashes had decreased by an average of 50% and the severity of the flashes also dropped significantly. They also reported other improvements including mood, joint pain, sweating and chills. (1)
2) Black Cohosh
Black cohosh which belongs to the same family as the buttercup has been well-researched regarding its effects against hot flashes in menopausal women. It used to be thought that black cohosh had estrogenic properties but more recent research has showed it is effective because it affects the serotonin receptors.
Several studies have showed that black cohosh can have an impact in the frequency of hot flashes but others have showed it to be no more effective than a placebo. (2)
One much cited study published in 2006 included 350 women who were separated into several groups and given black cohosh, a multi-herb pill containing black cohosh, hormone replacement therapy or a placebo. The effects of the multi-herb and black cohosh treatment were no more effective than those who took the placebo. (3)
3) Sage Tea
There is a significant amount of anecdotal evidence regarding the effects of sage tea on hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
In 2011 a study conducted by Swiss researchers set out to examine whether this traditional use had any scientific merit. 71 women were treated with a sage tablet once each day for two months and the results were very promising.
At the half way point of the study, women were experiencing an average of 50% fewer hot flashes and over 60% by the end of the 8 weeks. Those who suffered from the most severe symptoms saw even greater improvements. (4)
To make a cup of sage tea, add a teaspoon of dried leaves or a tablespoon of the fresh variety to a cup of boiled water. Let the leaves steep for at least 10 minutes, strain and drink up hot or chill until later. You can add honey and lemon to taste.
4) Red Clover
Some experts believe that the isoflavones present in red clover may be responsible for reducing hot flashes and other symptoms of the menopause. It is believed to work because of its estrogenic effects but studies have been far from conclusive. Some studies have noted that red clover extracts may reduce hot flashes significantly but others have concluded that it had no effect. (5)
5) Vitamin E
Vitamin E is probably best known for its powerful antioxidant abilities but it also helps improve the function of the arteries and helps to reduce inflammation which can all help treat hot flashes. A study published by Iranian researchers in 2007 looked into the effects of vitamin E supplements on hot flashes in 51 menopausal women.
Those who took vitamin E each day for four weeks experienced less severe and significantly fewer hot flashes than those who took a placebo. (6)
The dose taken in the study was 400 IU each day and is the recommended dose for hot flashes.
6) Essential Oils
A number of essential oils are considered to provide excellent relief from menopause symptoms including hot flashes. Some of the best include clary sage, thyme, Roman chamomile and peppermint essential oils.
For a full review of essential oils for menopause and how to use them click on the following link… https://healthyfocus.org/essential-oils-for-menopause/
7) Other Possible Treatments
Some people have found that diets rich in vitamin C can help reduce the severity and frequency of their hot flashes. Other potential herbal remedies include evening primrose oil, chickweed, damiana, spearmint and licorice root.
8) Try to lose some weight
At first glance, it makes perfect sense that carrying too much weight around will make you feel hotter and sweat more whether you are going through menopause or otherwise. If you are overweight, losing the excess pounds can have a significant effect on your health.
Researchers have also found that overweight women are more prone to hot flashes than those of a healthy weight.
A study which was published in 2010 found that losing some of that excess weight could also help you to lose those hot flashes. The study done by the University of California put over 200 obese and overweight menopausal women on an intensive plan to lose weight and compared them to a control group of a similar age and weight.
The women in the weight loss group were given a strict diet as well as increasing their physical activity. The researchers found that the more weight the women lost, the fewer hot flashes they experienced. (7)
If you suffer from hot flashes, then exercise could be your key. Several studies have been done which demonstrate that working out more often can help reduce your symptoms. Although the findings have been inconsistent and there are so many variables to consider exercise is regarded as potentially good for your symptoms.
The fact that exercise can help you to lose weight which in itself can reduce the frequency of hot flashes means that you should get out and do more exercise.
One 2010 study found that the more physically activity a woman did resulted in less frequent and less severe symptoms and numerous other studies have demonstrated similar results. (8)