Do you experience a feeling so uncomfortable that it makes you feel like you are burning from the inside all of a sudden? You sweat like a melting popsicle and feel embarrassed while the people around stare at you in utter confusion. We totally understand how it feels when one moment you are fine, but the very next moment you are hit by a hot flash. You feel feverish, when the heat emerges in your head and neck and spreads over your entire body, making you perspire a lot.
What are Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes are a common occurrence among woman approaching their menopause. It is caused by the hormonal changes taking inside the body, as the ovaries prepare to shut shop. The drastic drop in the levels of estrogen triggers the hot flashes. Our body releases the heat in order to cool itself and maintain homeostasis. When the estrogen levels dip, it bamboozles our brain, the hypothalamus to be specific. The hypothalamus is a part of the brain in the basal area that is responsible for keeping the temperature of the body on the right track. So, when estrogen levels fall, it signals the hypothalamus that the body temperature is going up. In such a scenario, the hypothalamus strives to bring the body temperature back to normal, giving you fever like symptoms. The severity of hot flashes is directly proportional to the speed of your transition from normal periods to menopause.
Hot flashes can put you in an awkward situation for a period of 30 seconds to a couple of minutes. As a hot flash sets in, the face suddenly turns red and the woman begins to sweat. Some women experience hot flashes in the middle of their sleep as well. Almost 95% of women approaching their menopause experience hot flashes. 10 – 15% of women struggle with severe cases of hot flashes while the remaining 85-70% experience mild to moderate episodes.
Top 20 Remedies for Hot Flashes:
Hot flashes is not a medical condition, but a temporary disorder kick-started by hormones going haywire in the body. Hot flashes can be corrected by hormone replacement therapy or drug treatments. But these treatments come at a price. Tinkering with the hormones has its own set of side-effects, leading to newer complications. But don’t lose your heart yet. There are natural ways to combat and survive hot flashes. We have compiled a list of top 20 remedies for hot flashes that can help minimize the intensity of your hot flashes and reduce their frequency as well.
1. Shed those Extra Pounds:
Obese women approaching menopause are more likely to experience severe episodes of hot flashes, given their extra weight. Some of them might develop urinary incontinence as well, which further worsens the situation. So, the first step to control hot flashes is to develop healthy eating habits and lose some weight. You would be surprised to know that losing weight also cuts back the occurrences of hot flashes. Research suggests that for every 5 kg of weight-loss, women experienced a decrease in the intensity of the hot flashes by an amazing 33%.
2. Don’t Pop Diet Pills:
While weight-loss makes your condition better, accomplishing it by taking diet pills don’t. Diet pills can disturb the levels of several hormones in the body, including those of estrogen and progesterone, increasing your susceptibility to hot flashes.
3. Keeping Stress at Bay:
Stress is a major culprit when it comes to setting a woman’s hormone levels on fire, no matter what her age. Chronic stress messes up with the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body, leading to hormonal imbalances. Women nearing their menopause should avoid stressing themselves out if they want to witness some improvement in their condition. You can try meditation and breathing exercises to calm your blazing nerves. Devote at least half an hour of your time every morning towards meditation for a tranquil mind. It works from the inside and enhances your mental stamina too. Your mind gets engineered to combat demanding situations in a better way. It prevents mental stress and ultimately the hormonal imbalances, reducing your odds of getting severe hot flashes.
4. Healthy Diet to Include Phytoestrogens:
‘Phytoestrogens’ is a term used to define the estrogens derived from plants. Including moderate quantities of phytoestrogen rich food in your diet can bring your estrogen levels back on the right track. Alfalfa and licorice are rich in phytoestrogens and can be included in the diet. But remember that the quantity of such foods has a big impact on your hormones. So, talk to your doctor about the quantities of these foods to be incorporated in your diet.
5. Have a Good Night Sleep:
Sleeping is important to keep all the internal activities of your body on schedule. This is the best natural remedy for hot flashes. An erratic sleep schedule takes a toll on the hormonal balance of the body. Sleep at least 6 to 8 hours every day. Make sure you sleep through the night and not during the day. Sleeping well will certainly make a noticeable difference in the pattern and severity of your hot flashes within a few days.
6. Yogic Exercises:
Yoga is known to promote the flexibility of the body and its overall well being. It is the best exercise option when you cannot go for heavy workouts. Yoga helps you lose weight gradually, which is a great way to slim down. Like meditation, yoga too works from the inside. It is a holistic approach towards restoring hormonal balance in the body and reducing the occurrence of hot flash.
7. Include Fish in Your Diet:
The Omega-3 fatty acids have proven beneficial in combating hot flashes. Eating foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids will have a positive impact on the symptoms of hot flash. Eating fish like tuna, mackerel and sardines are a great way to satisfy your body’s need for omega-3 fatty acids. You can eat 2 or 3 servings of such fish in a week. It will fortify your body to manage episodes of hot flash in a better manner. One of the great remedies for hot flashes.
8. Say No to Coffee:
Coffee is a warm product by nature. Consuming coffee provides warmth and increases the internal temperature of the body. This eventually worsens your condition. The body corrects this sudden spike in temperature by giving you a hot flash, because sweating is your body’s way of cooling itself. Therefore, stop consuming coffee altogether, if possible. If not, you must cut back on coffee for a while at least.
9. Kick the Bottle:
When you consume alcoholic drinks, they give you a flash wherein you experience your body temperature rising a little. This is actually an alcoholic flash that gives you a false sense of warmth. You might also experience reddening of the face. Women consuming alcohol are at an increased risk of getting frequent and severe hot flashes. It is advisable that you resist the urge to binge for the time being and allow your hormones to settle down.
10. Spice is not Nice:
Chilies and other hot spices have an impact on our body’s temperature just like coffee. Spices provide heat to your body. The body reads it as ‘too hot’ and attempts to maintain homeostasis. As a result, you can get a terrible hot flash in the middle of eating your favorite spicy delight. You surely don’t want to start sweating like a pig and get all red in your face while dining at your favorite restaurant, do you?
11. Keep it Cool:
Using hot water to bathe results into sharp rise in your body’s temperature and give you a really bad hot flash. Your entire body is exposed to a high temperature when you bathe with hot water. The intensity of the hot flash can be very high in such cases. So, it would be really nice for you to bathe with cold or lukewarm water. Similarly, don’t step into the hot shower either. Bathing is definitely the worst time to get a hot flash. So, be careful and give yourself a cool remedy for hot flashes.
12. Doll Up in Layers:
Dress up in layers when it’s winter time. You can take off excessive clothing when you start feeling hot and put it back on when needed. Wearing one heavy and hot piece of clothing is not a good idea. It lacks the element of convenience. Furthermore, the constriction can give you a hot flash.
13. Go for Cotton Clothing:
Cotton clothing have an amazing ability to keep your body cool. It absorbs sweat as well and helps maintain normal body temperature. On the other hand, synthetic fabrics and wool lack the attribute of keeping your body cool. Avoid wearing too much nylon, leather and georgette too. In fact wearing such uncomfortable clothing hinders with the process of perspiration, ultimately resulting in the rise of body temperature. This can certainly trigger a hot flash. Struggling to breathe and coping with the sweat while dressed in a skin-hugging synthetic fabric is not a fancy way to suffer.
14. Try Acupuncture Therapy:
Acupuncture is an effective alternative for treating hot flashes. The therapy tries to bring the hormones at right levels, reducing the frequenting and intensity of hot flashes. While there is a debate whether acupuncture really helps women suffering from hot flashes, women who have tried this Chinese treatment vouch for it efficacy.
15. Rush to the Freezer:
Like I said before, a hot flash starts in the head, making its way to the neck and shoulder, progressing towards the lower part of the body. When you think you are about to get a hot flash or when you have already started getting one, you still have a chance to control it. Rush to the freezer, open it, and place your face near it. The intense cooling effect of the chill coming from the freezer is very soothing. It has the power to stop the hot flash within a few seconds.
16. Avoid Going to Saunas:
Saunas are not a place to be for women battling with hot flashes. Saunas are hot and steamy. They would make your body get too hot and the hypothalamus in a bid to maintain homeostasis will give you a hot flash. The steamy and hot surrounding can cause shortness of breath, causing a threat to your condition.
17. Don’t Feast on Hot Food:
Who doesn’t like to have food that is fresh from the kitchen and is still piping hot? While getting served cold food is a turn off for most people, it is a helpful way to prevent occurrence of hot flashes. Don’t attack the yummy food on your plate while it’s still sizzling. Let it cool down a bit and then dig in. Eating hot food or sipping on hot drinks can cause you to start sweating, making way for a hot flash.
18. Quit the Smoke:
Smoking is yet another trigger that sets a hot flash in motion. Quit smoking to witness how considerably it reduces the occurrences of hot flashes in a few days.
19. Lie Down:
It is normal to feel very uneasy when a hot flash sets in. Try not to panic at such times. If you are at home, just lie down on the bed in a reclining position. Alternatively, you may rest on a chair when the heat sets in. Try relaxing yourself to make the hot flash go away.
20. Carry a Hand Fan:
Though hot flashes are not hazardous, they are a bit of an annoyance. When you are outdoors, it is quite possible to get a hot flash when the surroundings are hot or crowded. In such a scenario, a personal fan is a great thing to have. Remember the oriental hand fans the Chinese and Japanese use? Not only are they pretty to look at but are also an amazing way to relieve yourself when hot flashes occur. You can buy several hand fans to match with your outfits!
Hot flashes are temporary. The key is not to panic and take control of the situation. We hope this post gave you a comprehensive overview of hot flashes, its causes and the ways to deal with it. Use a combination of these remedies for hot flashes during menopause to find relief from this nasty heat monster.
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