75 percent of all women experiencing menopause suffer from menopause related hot flashes. That fact makes it making it the most common symptom experienced during this difficult time.
Hot flashes involve the temporary sensation of heat coming off the body that is sometimes associated with sweating or flushing of the skin. Hot flashes usually last between 30 seconds to 10 minutes and can be extremely bothersome and debilitating if they are severe.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one way of dealing with menopause related hot flashes. HRT replaces the estrogen lost when the ovaries give out during menopause. There are known side effects and risks to taking this form of therapy. For that reason many women prefer natural remedies in order to cope with these symptoms.
Below are 7 natural ways to deal with menopausal hot flashes
Simple changes in behavior: This includes learning how to dress in layers so that you can take off clothing when the hot flashes become intense. It also includes having cold water handy so you can sip on it when the hot flashes start. You can also wear light pajamas that are loose fitting and use bed linens made with cotton that breathe better and can reduce the incidence of night sweats.
Herbal relief: Even though study results are mixed, many women use herbal remedies to control menopausal symptoms including hot flashes.
Black cohosh: This is also referred to by the scientific names Actaea racemosa and Cimicifuga racemosa. While it helps menopause related hot flashes, you should not take this herbal remedy if you suffer from liver disease.
Dong quai: The scientific name for this herb is Angelica sinensis. It cannot be taken by people who take Coumadin (warfarin) because they interact with one another.
Red clover: The scientific name for this is Trifolium pratense. This is generally safe but cannot be taken by people suffering from bleeding problems because it can increase the risk of bleeding complications.
Soy products: This can involve drinking soymilk, eating tofu, or eating tempeh, which is a fermented form of tofu. It has side effects, including diarrhea, constipation, and stomach troubles.
Evening primrose oil: The scientific name for this oil is Oenothera biennis. This is generally safe but may interact adversely with certain psychiatric medications and blood thinning medications.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture can decrease the occurrences and intensity of menopause related hot flashes without the side effects that you can have if you are taking medication. A study reported in the British Medical Journal in 2011 showed that women who used acupuncture for hot flashes had fewer episodes. Acupuncture involves putting thin sterile needles into specific areas of the body, resulting in an increase in the flow of qi energy in the body.
Eating a well-balanced diet: This entails eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Try to avoid saturated fats (found in dairy products and meat products), trans fats, which are found in highly processed foods and foods that are high in sugar. You should also consider drinking less alcohol because it can be a trigger for hot.
Mindfulness meditation: Involves a deep focus of experiences on moment-to-moment basis. A study by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health found mindfulness meditation training reduced the intensity of hot flashes and also other symptoms such as anxiety, stress, insomnia, and overall quality of life.
Quit smoking: Smoking can trigger hot flashes so, if you already smoke, you should make every attempt to quit. If you do not smoke, you shouldn’t start the habit. Smoking can be a trigger for hot flashes and is generally not a healthy lifestyle behavior to have.
Get regular exercise: Exercising aerobically has been found to decrease the intensity and frequency of hot flashes. You can exercise aerobically by taking part in any physical activity that increases the heart rate and increases the respiratory rat. Aerobic exercises include brisk walking, jogging, cycling, running, swimming, tennis and, to some degree, golf. You need to exercise at least thirty minutes a day on most of the days of the week. You can also engage in anaerobic exercise, which involves lifting weights or using weight machines that will help tone your muscles and will increase your muscle mass.
The above items can be used together or separately in order to reduce the incidence and severity of menopause related hot flashes. As always you need to weigh the risks and benefits of whatever option(s) you choose. Consulting with a medical professional is highly recommended before starting any form of treatment.