November 17, 2008

Hot Flashes – An Unpleasant Menopausal Symptom That Every Women Experience

Posted in Category : Women's Health

A wave of heat all over the body, sudden breakout of sweat and redness on the face, almost as if you were blushing. This is just one of the signs of your body’s way of telling you that menopause has arrived. It is nature’s way of preparing your body for the next phase of your life. Menopause is a natural event and usually occurs in women between 45 and 55. Your periods will occur with less frequency; eventually stopping altogether and your ovaries will stop making eggs, in turn producing lesser amounts of hormones of estrogen and progesterone as compared to before.

One of the symptoms of menopause that women face is hot flashes. These are sudden feelings of heat that are more intense around the neck, face and chest. Some women may break out in sweat. When it is done it leaves the person feeling chilled. The frequency of the hot flashes varies from woman to woman. They can happen several times a day or several times a week, and some women also experience hot flashes at night. Menopausal hot flashes are uncomfortable and irritating. As it is, your hormones are all over the place, not to mention the other symptoms like insomnia, decreased libido, sudden and extreme fatigue, mood swings, vaginal dryness, pain in the joints and thinning hair. There are simple home remedies for hot flashes which you can try out:

  • Cutting back on Caffeine: Caffeine acts as a stimulant that triggers hot flashes. Your body is working with less estrogen during menopause, so there is a low tolerance for changes in the core body temperature. Caffeine increases body temperature at a faster rate as compared to otherwise and the hot flash might last as long as it takes for the heat to go away.
  • Quit Smoking: Now is a good time as any. Studies have shown that the toxins in tobacco help to trigger hot flashes and also make them more severe.
  • Dietary Changes: Different types of foods either help avoid or contribute to hot flashes. Hot and spicy, and high fat foods are often culprits that assist in bringing on hot flashes. But, there are foods that can help alleviate hot flashes like soy, whole grains and beans. A good calcium and iron intake can also help in reducing flashes, so include a balanced amount of low fat milk, broccoli, clams, sardines, yoghurt, chicken, nuts and eggs, to your diet.
  • Regular Exercise: Helps keep the hot flashes at bay. Regular exercise helps to keep your body fit and healthy. It is also known to reduce the frequency and the intensity of hot flashes. You can either try your hand at yoga, aerobics or just the good old brisk walking.
  • Herbs: Natural herbs have been known to help get relief from hot flashes and night sweats. These are black cohosh, ginseng, chickweed, Chasteberry, dong quai, motherwort and sage. These herbs can be had either in the form of tea or supplements.
  • Choice of Clothes: A slight elevation in the body’s temperature can induce hot flashes so it is best to dress in layers, this way you can remove the outer layer if you feel hot. In winter, avoid wearing turtlenecks; instead opt for zipper-style jackets that that can be easily removed during a hot flash.
  • Temperature Control: Keep the temperature in your bedroom cool at all times, which means turning on the fan or regulating your air conditioner. In winters, keep a check on your heating system. Carry a handheld fan when you travel.

Consult your doctor or gynecologist for any medications and treatment to manage hot flashes.