Hot flashes are one of the more uncomfortable and unpredictable symptoms of menopause. Your face may get red, sweating may ensue, your heart rate can increase, and it can all happen with great intensity. Hormonal changes are mostly to blame, but medications, lifestyle and diet can contribute to the intensity and frequency of hot flashes.
Any increase in activity can help ease the symptoms of menopause. Try parking the car a little farther away from the store, taking the stairs in lieu of the elevator or taking a short 15-minute walk around the block. All of these simple steps are easy to incorporate into your daily life.
Make time to do something you enjoy. Gardening, for example, not only adds to your daily activity, but can also be relaxing for the plant lover. Stress reduction can play a big role in reducing hot flashes and other symptoms as well. A yoga class is a great way to reduce stress and improve the condition of your body at the same time.
Making long-term dietary changes can be beneficial for the reduction of hot flashes. A low-fat diet is often helpful because being overweight contributes to menopausal symptoms of all kinds. Be careful to find a healthy weight and when you reach it, stick with it. Being too thin can make the situation worse as well.
Reducing or eliminating some foods has also offered relief to some women. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods may help you stay cool.
Beware of Triggers
Food is not the only thing that can bring on a hot flash. When menopause is already hitting you hard, there are a few things you can watch out for to try to prevent extra occurrences. Relaxing is great for helping hot flashes, but if you try to do so in a hot tub or sauna you may be counteracting the benefits and even making a hot flash more likely. The same goes for taking a hot shower or bath, getting in a tanning bed that makes you sweat, or hanging out at the beach in the summertime. Another thing that many people may not consider is smoking. Put down the cigarettes and you may see those hot flashes disappear.
There are a variety of alternative therapies that some women swear by when it comes to reducing hot flashes. Plant estrogens are often taken in supplement form instead of hormone replacement therapy. These include dong quai, red raspberry and evening primrose oil. Another alternative remedy is natural progesterone cream. Applying just ¼ to ½ teaspoon twice daily can give symptomatic relief within just a few days. Vitamin E supplements may be helpful for mild hot flashes, but does not show significant improvement when the heat is really turned up.