The room starts to feel a little warm. Your face starts to flush, followed by your neck and chest. It gets a little hotter and you begin to sweat. You’ve just experienced a hot flash, most likely caused by menopause. Hot flashes can be annoying, especially if they keep you up at night or occur most often in public. The good news is that there are many ways to prevent them. If you’ve had trouble keeping menopausal hot flashes at bay, follow these 10 tips.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques, such as deep-breathing exercises, yoga and biofeedback, can relieve the symptoms of menopausal hot flashes as well as other symptoms of menopause. One exercise in particular, known as paced respiration, can reduce hot flashes as well as some of the emotional symptoms of menopause.
Studies show that soy can have positive effects on hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. That’s because soy contains phytoestrogens, compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen. If you plan to incorporate more soy into your diet, stick with products that are less processed and are made from whole soybeans, such as tofu, tempeh and miso.
Women who carry extra weight tend to have more hot flashes because the excess fat traps heat and their blood vessels dilate more in reaction to stress and heat. Studies show that overweight women who lose weight tend to lose their hot flashes as well.
Even if you don’t need to lose weight, exercising in general can reduce the symptoms of hot flashes. One study, conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine, found that women who exercise on a regular basis can reduce the occurrence of hot flashes and headaches by up to 50 percent.
Keep Your Environment Cool
Keep the temperature in your home a little cooler than you normally would and keep a small fan at the office if you can’t control the temperature at work. To cool yourself from the inside out, sip on cold drinks and snack on cold foods.
Dress In Layers
Hot flashes can make you want to peel your clothes off, but that may not be appropriate to do while at work or at the grocery store. To keep yourself cool during a hot flash, dress in layers. That way, when you feel a hot flash coming on, you can peel a layer off without shedding your dignity as well. It’s also helpful to dress in light, breathable fabrics like cotton and silk.
Don’t Smoke And Limit Alcohol Consumption
There are many things that can trigger a hot flash and triggers vary from person to person. But cigarettes and alcohol are two triggers that are almost universal. Studies show that both smoking and drinking are linked to an increase in hot flashes.
Avoid Hot And Spicy Foods
Avoid spicy foods to minimize hot flashes. You should also avoid hot foods and drinks when you can as they can easily trigger a hot flash. You may also want to eat smaller meals throughout the day to reduce the amount of heat caused by digestion.
Certain Foods Can Prevent Menopausal Hot Flashes
You can also add a few foods to your diet that will help control those flashes of heat. One of those foods is flaxseed, which also contains phytoestrogens. Researchers have found that women who eat at least 1.5 ounces of crushed flaxseed a day for six weeks can reduce the occurrence of hot flashes by 20 percent and the severity of hot flashes by 57 percent. You can buy flaxseed already crushed or you can buy it whole, crush it yourself and add it to cereal or yogurt.
Another hot flash-preventing food is sage, which also greatly reduces the occurrence and severity of hot flashes. Add this herb to a few meals or brew a pot of sage tea with lemon and honey.
It’s not really known why acupuncture works for reducing hot flashes, but studies show that it does work. Acupuncture can also relieve any pain and can help you to sleep better. However, the results won’t be seen overnight. This remedy may take a few sessions to produce the desired results.
Vitamin E And Black Cohosh
Vitamin E has anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it a great tool for fighting hot flashes. Studies show that women who took vitamin E had hot flashes less frequently and less severely than those who took a placebo. It’s best to get vitamin E from food sources, but if you prefer to take a supplement, take no more than 400 IU a day.
Another supplement that can reduce hot flashes is black cohosh. Black cohosh is actually a member of the buttercup family and can reduce hot flashes by up to 84 percent. You can take 40 milligrams of it once a day or 20 mg of it twice a day.
If, after trying these remedies, you don’t see any improvement or reduction in your hot flashes, you may want to seek medical treatment. Talk with your doctor about taking a medication or trying a treatment such as hormone therapy.