Unexpected and sudden bursts of heat in your body may cause you to feel flushed and uncomfortable, looking for a sigh of relief during menopause. Eighty-five percent of American women in the United States experience various levels of hot flashes as they approach menopause, says Womenshealth.gov. The occurrence of hot flashes can begin as early as two to three years before a woman's last menstrual cycle and last for as little as six months to 15 years after the last period. As you begin to age, hot flashes become increasingly prevalent, especially if the transition from regular periods to no periods is fast. The severity of hot flashes varies from individual to individual, as some women experience a few episodes a year, while in extreme cases, women experience 20 episodes a day, according to Prevention.com. If a woman experiences a series of hot flashes during the night, she can struggle to sleep and even experience chronic insomnia. While the cause of hot flashes remains unknown, treatment provides symptom relief of the sensitive thermostats in the brain.
FDA-Approved Drugs For Hot Flashes
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved BRISDELLE, a new medication that is designed to treat hot flashes in menopausal women. But the controversy surrounding the drug could cause many women to skip out and endure their episodes. BRISDELLE contains 7.5 milligrams of the paroxetine, a medication that is used to treat psychiatric disorders, which raises concern over the health risks that the drug can pose to menopausal women. Low doses of antidepressants that have been linked to decreasing hot flashes, such as venlafaxine, paroxetine, and fluoxetine, are not as effective as hormone therapy and may cause serious side effects like nausea, dizziness, and weight gain among others, says Mayo Clinic.
Drugs to treat hot flashes in menopausal women tend to cause more harm than good and can even increase the risk of developing other diseases. Natural treatments like exercise have been debated by experts as to whether they actually help reduce hot flashes in women. Findings published in the journal Menopause shows that exercises do everything but ease hot flashes. Researchers examined 248 women who were either hitting menopause or were postmenopausal and divided them into two groups. A total of 106 women did aerobic exercise training three times a week for 12 weeks and the other group went about their normal daily activities. The results found that white women who took part in the exercise program did see a reduction in hot flashes compared to white women who did their daily activities, but there was no difference seen in black women. The results of the study led the researchers to conclude that women who were already physically fit prior to the exercise program experienced a greater improvement in their hot flashes than those who were not physically active before.
Natural Remedies To Treat Hot Flashes
To treat hot flashes without the side effects of prescription drugs and remain healthy and fit, try these four all-natural remedies that will help you keep your cool.
1. Healthy Diet
Certain foods like dairy products, meat products, and spicy foods have been found to be the top contributors to hot flashes. Even without menopause, spicy foods can trigger a hot flash in your body, making you feel sweaty and flushed throughout. Instead, opt to eat whole, non-GMO soy foods to increase your protein intake, which helps with hormone production in the body. Edible beans like soybeans can help control hot flashes because they contain genistein and daidzein, which are estrogenic compounds, says Naturalnews.com.
Fun Fact: Soy is an important staple of the Japanese food diet, which may account for why only seven percent of menopausal Japanese women suffer from hot flashes.
2. Control stress levels
While the cause of hot flashes is still unknown, doctors have wondered if a hormonal imbalance could account for the menopausal symptom. The ever-changing hormonal levels of a woman's body during menopause can trigger chronic stress. Dr. Mercola, Illinois licensed physician and surgeon, says if a woman has low levels of progesterone and high levels of estrogen, this contributes to stress. Therefore, he suggests women to address the stress levels as a means to naturally balance their hormone levels.
Fun Fact: Stress can cause a hot flash in the body, even in non-menopausal women because stress releases adrenaline into the blood, which increases the blood flow and causes a rise in your body temperature.
3. Increase vitamin E intake
Vitamin E has been linked to reduced severity of hot flashes in menopausal women. In a study conducted at Tarbiat Modarres University in Tehran, Iran, researchers assessed the effects of vitamin E on hot flashes in 54 patients. First, researchers conducted a placebo double blind-controlled trial daily for four weeks, followed by a one-week wash out, and then a 400 IU vitamin E soft gel cap daily for the next four weeks. The findings of the study indicated that when the patients took the vitamin E soft gel cap, there was a reduction in the severity of hot flashes among patients.
Fun Fact: Leafy greens, tropical fruits, and nuts are excellent sources of vitamin E. The combination of these ingredients makes for a mouthwatering salad.
4. Wear comfortable clothes
Hot weather tends to trigger hot flashes and can often make your symptoms worse. To alleviate the discomfort and pain, choose to wear loose clothing that is not tight around your vaginal or abdominal area. Women who experience an excess of hot flashes can turn to "menopause clothing," or clothing specifically designed to be light and airy, says Consumerhelathdigest.com. Staying cool throughout the day and wearing lightweight clothing can significantly reduce the number of episodes you have throughout the day.
Fun Fact: Menopausal t-shirts are a popular type of menopausal clothing because they can be worn underneath suits or sweaters without having anyone notice.
To learn about other natural remedies for hot flashes, visit The Global Healing Center.