View Full Version : 10 Tips For Managing Hot Flashes

28th March 2011, 05:08 PM
When you hear someone talking about menopause, chances are the words “hot flashes” are not far behind. Hot flashes are a common symptom and side effect of menopause, with a majority of middle-age women experiencing the increase in body heat to some degree.

For some, hot flashes can be very uncomfortable, causing temperature extremes in the body and forcing sufferers to turn down the room thermostat on the coldest winter days, only to churn it up again when the warm sensation fades.

Other females may have one or two hot flashes they hardly notice, so they seldom report them to their doctors or request medical relief. There are also hot flashes pregnancy can cause, brought on by hormonal imbalances that ebb and flow. These tend to fade in time, without medical intervention. For help in managing menopausal hot flashes, try the following tips.

1. Causes of hot flashes vary, from eating spicy foods to a change in room temperature. Be aware of your environment and temperature changes to prepare for the onslaught of hot flashes that may ensue. Dress in layers, for example, so that you can remove a sweater or jacket if you start to feel warm. Avoid caffeine at meetings where you do not want your face to turn red. Include an evaluation of external factors while considering internal triggers, as well.

2. Hot flashes caused by pregnancy are similar to menopausal hot flashes in that they can come from hormonal surges and are influenced by external factors.

However, pregnancy-related hot flashes may occur only at certain stages of pregnancy, and they usually disappear after giving birth. You can treat them the same way, though, by dressing comfortably and ready to shed extra layers, avoiding spicy or hot foods, and keeping your bedroom cool at night.

3. Many people report natural cures for hot flashes that have not been substantiated by research or medical support. Please check with your doctor before trying these methods. One suggestion is to drink one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 2 tablespoons of water daily to reduce or eliminate hot flashes. Allegedly, the mixture also helps to control asthma and arthritis symptoms, reports earthclinic.com. A second natural cure is drinking a cup of soy milk each day. Other options reported by people who say they work are to reduce sugar and caffeine intake and take a Vitamin E supplement. (Again, get your doctor’s approval before trying any of these treatments.)

4. Since stress has been linked to hot flash frequency, it is helpful to alleviate stress in your life whenever possible, which may help to reduce your incidence of hot flashes. Stress management techniques include getting regular exercise, keeping a journal in order to vent negative feelings or fears and finding time for personal attention each day to do things that can ease anxiety and help you to relax, such as taking a long shower or reading an enjoyable book. Watching a comedy film can also help eliminate stress.

5. A support network of family and friends can be useful in establishing connections with other women who understand or share your hot flashes. This could be an informal get-together for social reasons, like a girls’ night out. Or you might call up several friends and relatives and invite them over for a venting session about menopausal symptoms. Then be sure to turn the occasion into a celebratory party over all that each of you has accomplished to end the night on a triumphant note.

6. Herbal remedies are popular than some of the medical treatments being prescribed for hormone replacement therapy. Although some herbals may be safe and effective, always check with your doctor before taking a specific product to confirm its FDA approval along with the right dose for you. Herbal concoctions can vary from one source to another, which is why you need to validate the manufacturer and distributor of the product to ensure its safety. Project-Aware.org references Dr. Susan Lark’s herbal recommendations to treat hot flashes: dong quai, black cohosh, blue cohosh, fennel, and red clover, among others. Obviously, you should buy these products, following your doctor’s approval, from stores that you trust.

7. A key natural cure is getting at least 30 minutes of exercise several days each week, such as walking or swimming. According to Project-Aware.org, exercise helps to reduce hot flashes by limiting the amount of LH and FSH hormones circulating throughout the body and by nurturing the hypothalamus as well as increasing the body’s production of endorphins. Just twenty minutes of walking or other mild exercise at least three times weekly can make a difference.

8. Avoid trigger foods and situations that can bring on or worsen hot flashes, if you know what they are. Typically, spicy foods such as cayenne and ginger are among those that may spur hot flashes in some women. Other culprits include the following:

-acidic foods (pickles, tomatoes)
-alcoholic beverages
-hot tubs and saunas
-tobacco products
-repressed anger or anxiety

9. Keep your bedroom cool at night. Hot flashes that wake you up are called night sweats and they can be treated in similar ways as you deal with daytime hot flashes. However, since they happen at night, you may have to make some adjustments to ease their effect. Some women enjoy sleeping in a cool room with a light blanket. When hot flashes occur, the top blanket is removed, leaving only a cover sheet. A glass of water on the bedside stand is another way to cut short a bout of night sweats. When you wake up feeling warm and uncomfortable, drink some water to cool down your system.

10. Consult with your doctor about possible medical therapies to try if your hot flashes become worse or interfere with your daily routine. ERT, or estrogen replacement therapy, should be evaluated for pros and cons that can be discussed with your physician. He or she also may be able to offer additional advice based on your specific background and medical history, as well as any chronic or acute conditions that may have an impact on your hot flashes and their treatment.

Always Consult Your Physician First
It is helpful to prepare yourself with health information by reading and talking to friends, but always consult your doctor before taking medical action or changing your health routine. This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. LifeScript disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Although women can experience hot flashes at any time during their menstrual cycles, going through menopause seems to be the time when symptoms like these are most prevalent. Some females feel scarcely any hot flashes, while others feel tormented in enduring the onslaught of seemingly endless attacks. It is a good idea to check with your doctor before entering the menopause years (typically the mid- to late 40’s) to see what precautions, if any, might apply to you as hot flashes develop and you seek treatment for them. Armed with knowledge and a tentative plan of treatment, you will feel more confident in preparing for hot flashes, and may be able to avoid most of the discomfort and inconvenience associated with their onset. As medical knowledge about menopause continues to expand, undoubtedly improved understanding leading to better treatments will become available. In the meantime, consider trying natural and herbal treatments discussed here, and do not hesitate to ask your doctor questions about the best possible course of action for you to beat hot flashes during the menopause years.