Remedies for Hot Flashes
June 28, 2018
One minute you’re hot, one minute you’re not. At first, you think someone’s playing tricks on you. Or you find yourself stomping around, muttering under your breath about how family members, office colleagues and even public buildings seem to be conspiring against you by elevating their thermostat temperatures.
Then, you realize the intense heat, hot skin and profuse sweating aren’t signs of a temperature-controlled conspiracy – they’re actually the most common symptoms of menopause.
Never Fear! Remedies for Menopause Hot Flashes Are Here
The good news is hot flashes aren’t permanent, but they might creep up on you for a little while, depending on how close you are to actual menopause (diagnosed when you have not had a period for 12 consecutive months).
Hot flashes are caused by upheavals in your delicate reproductive hormone balance, or so we think. They affect roughly 75% of women going through menopause, and they typically cease within a year or so after menopause has occurred. For some, they are a minor inconvenience; for others hot flashes are a significant nuisance and an embarrassment. In addition to feeling hot and profuse upper-body sweating, they can also cause your pulse to elevate, your face to flush, and a tingling sensation in the fingers.
The good news is there are things you can do to decrease the occurrence and severity of hot flashes.
Avoid or minimize hot flash triggers
The first step is avoiding hot flash triggers altogether. Begin paying attention to your diet, beverage intake and social situations to see if you have your own hot flash triggers. Some of the most common include:
- Caffeinated products
- Hot rooms
- Spicy foods
- Tight clothing
- Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke
- White sugars and processed carbohydrates
We bet some or all of these are triggers for you too, so take care and distance yourself from these culprits as much as possible. This is a good time to dress in layers, beginning with a lovely tank top, so you can strip down whenever necessary and still look presentable…
Eat foods that support hormone balance for menopause
Your body is limited to the foods you eat when it comes to rebuilding cells, hormone and other important biochemical production, and healing your body. Hormones are particularly sensitive to certain dietary gaps so covering these can be beneficial:
- Protein. Eat lots of healthy protein during menopause. You can achieve this by including protein-rich snacks in between meals. Add broccoli sprouts to salad, oatmeal with flax seed oil for breakfast (oatmeal is also a heart-healthy food), soy nuts or soy smoothies (soy has gotten a bad rap but eating non-GMO, balanced servings of soy, which contains phytoestrogens, is proven to relieve menopause symptoms), and top that salad with a little salmon. Have nuts at the ready and top those crackers with tuna or egg salad.
- Fat. You need fat, contrary to what starving Hollywood actresses and emaciated cover models might tell you. The key is to eat healthy fat, meaning monounsaturated versions, preferably those with essential fatty acids (EFA). Omega-3s (found in fatty fish, flax seeds, beans, avocados, and olive oil) are an important essential fatty acid (EFA) that have been shown to provide menopause relief.
- Fiber. Fiber is good for you heart and good for your GI tract. Not only does it help to reduce cholesterol and keep things moving, fiber also keeps gut flora healthy so you can metabolize important nutrients and sex hormones (like those food-based phytoestrogens). Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables towards the fiber cause, and increase intake of foods known to contain phytoestrogens – such as yams, celery, fennel, all kinds of nuts and seeds, garlic and onions.
Other studies show that foods with high sulfur content, like broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous veggies may also help.
Drink ice water and use a fan
Now’s the time to invest in an insulated water bottle. These are a lifesaver because sipping on ice water the minute you feel a hot flash coming on can provide immediate relief and lower your core temperature a bit. Also, fans can make a room feel as much as 4° F cooler than it really is. Have a small fan under your desk and keep those summertime fans out – and aimed right at your favorite chair or in the kitchen while you cook – so you can keep the temperature cool when others are comfortable as they are.
Ask about medications for hormone balance
If you find hot flashes and other menopause symptoms are beyond what you can tolerate, talk to your healthcare provider. When monitored carefully and decreased over time, hormone balance medications can help to alleviate the symptoms of menopause – including hot flashes – until your body has weathered the bulk of the transition.
Feel like you may be experiencing perimenopause? Looking for a healthcare provider who takes care of women at all stages of life? Contact Women’s Health Associates and make an appointment. Our all-female staff looks forward to taking a comprehensive approach when it comes to your health and relief from hot flashes.