Horror stories have been told by and about women in menopause with hot flashes. If left untreated, it can certainly be horrible. Some women’s symptoms are worse than others and some women have no symptoms at all!
When you have hot flashes, it is a sign that your hormones are once again fluctuating with varying levels of estrogen, progesterone and yes, even testosterone. The primary culprit though is estrogen, which causes the blood vessels to rapidly change and dilate, or widen. This in turn causes the blood to rush toward the skin, thereby heating the body and making most women to want to find the closest freezer.
Hot flashes can range from mild flushing, severe flushing and disabling flushing. For mild to severe flushing there are a number of easy things you can do to help or even stop these nuisance flashes but for disabling hot flashes, you may need to see your doctor and be placed on hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
What Is HRT? Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a medical treatment designed to artificially boost diminishing hormone levels. The treatment which can either come in pill, skin patch, gel, cream or spray form, helps prevent the various symptoms and discomfort caused by diminished circulating estrogen and progesterone hormones in surgically menopausal, perimenopausal, postmenopausal women and transgender women. However, not all women are suitable for the treatment or want to take the medications due to increased risk of certain health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, blood clots and breast cancer.
To avoid the negative risks or side effects of hormone replacement therapy, the next best alternative are remedies to help treat the symptoms of menopause, even the disabling ones can be eased with the right remedy.
The main thing to remember is that hot flashes are not dangerous, they are one of several natural ways your body responds to menopause; plus they are a nuisance and what you want to do is get through it the best and most comfortable way possible. Even though you may feel like everyone notices what is happening, ninety nine percent of the time, the only person who notices is you. The following are a few home remedies you can try to alleviate your hot flashes.
Dress For The Season
This means that if it is summer, wear lightweight cotton clothes and if it is winter, wear a light cotton shirt underneath so that when a hot flash occurs, you can remove the heavy sweater or shirt until it passes.
Hand held fans can be a fashion statement and the perfect relief no matter what season it is. You can either get lovely folding fans or battery powered fans that direct a cooling stream of air directly to you. A good recommendation is the Handy Cooler which is both fan and mini-air conditioner in one that can cools air up to 30°F.
Adjust The Thermostat Accordingly
Winter can be difficult for women with hot flashes because even though you have shed that heavy sweater, the room is still warm. If it is possible, set the thermostat down so that the air temperature will help to dissipate your body’s heat more quickly. Even in the summer, keeping the thermostat low or keeping one room cooler than the rest of the house will give you a place to go until the hot flash passes.
Find Out What Triggers Your Hot Flashes
Many things can trigger hot flashes including stress, various foods, climate changes, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, or chocolate. The best way to figure this out is by keeping a hot flash diary and record what you are doing or eating during the hot flash and adjust accordingly. In addition, if you are or just started taking medications and suddenly started experiencing hot flashes, speak with your doctor as certain medication can cause hot flashes. If this is happening to you, your doctor may be able to change your medication to one that does not produce this symptom.
Another way to ease the symptoms of hot flashes is by taking certain herbs all of which, helps regulate hormones including chasteberry, chickweed, dong quai, ginseng, motherwort, sage and black cohosh. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before taking any of these herbs. Also know that women with high blood pressure should not take ginseng and women who are prone to or have liver disease should not take black cohosh.
Coping With Night Sweats
Some women also have hot flashes at night, sometimes several. This is also known as night sweats and is quite common and can be somewhat bothersome in that if you wake up right after a hot flash you may feel chilled. Also, if you wake up during a hot flash and kick the covers off to get relief, the cool air hit you and makes you feel cold because your pillow and pajamas will be damp. One thing you can do is keep clean pajamas and a fresh pillow close by so you can change quickly and comfortably get back to sleep without much disruption. Cotton is the recommended fabric for both pillowcases and pajamas as they provide more absorbency and comfort next to your skin.
Cut Back On Caffeine
Another way that can help to ease or stop your hot flashes include cutting back on caffeine laden drinks, especially in the evening and at night. If you cannot stop, at least cut your caffeine consumption back to no more than two cups per day. Do this gradually over a few weeks so that you do not develop symptoms like fatigue and headaches from caffeine withdrawal.
Believe it or not, symptoms of menopause, especially hot flashes can be caused by smoking. Smoking is bad in so many ways and if you are a woman in menopause, you are more likely to have hot flashes as well as other menopausal symptoms than women in menopause who do not smoke. If you are a smoker and hot flashes are driving you nuts, now you have another reason to quit.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Another excellent way to ease your hot flashes is by making sure you get enough exercise per day. Not only will it improve your health, it will cause the hot flashes to not feel so intense. There have been many studies in this area all of which found that women who did some kind of relaxation exercises such as yoga or Tai Chi, for one hour, five days per week, significantly reduced the frequency and intensity of their hot flashes.
Hot flashes are a normal part of menopause for all women but they do not have to be so bad and the good news is that usually within a couple of years after menopause, you will outgrow the hot flashes. Keeping a good sense of humor can also help you and your family deal with the hot flashes.