Hot flashes are commonly caused due to decline in estrogens and progesterone levels before menopause. Some of the symptoms of hot flashes include feeling hot, sweating, increased rate of heart beat which lasts for some 20-30 minutes variably. Some other symptoms are insomnia, lack of concentration, mood swings, impaired memory, irritability, anxiety and depression. At the outset, sensation of heat is felt on the face, chest, nape, and then it may take over the whole body. Some women experience unconsciousness as well. The skin becomes extremely hot and the color of the face turns red. Some women do not experience such flashes at all while others experience it a couple of years before menopause starts and it continues even after the menopause. The surrounding in which a female sits also affects the intensity of hot flashes, so, one should totally avoid sitting in hot areas. Other triggers of hot flashes are – smoking, wearing tight clothes, stress, spicy and caffeinated foods, and alcohol.
Home Remedies for Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are not dicey, they only cause discomfiture, uneasiness, and add to chagrin. To help you cope with such symptoms, check out the following remedies.
Acupuncture has no side effects, and it helps ladies during menopause/perimenopause to deal with mood swings. This remedy reduces the severity of hot flashes to a great extent.
Those females who meditate on a regular basis can control their irritability, mood swings, and stress in a better way than those who do not meditate at all.
3. Vitamin D
To absorb calcium, your body requires vitamin D. As one ages, levels of vitamin D decline. Some sources of vitamin D are fatty fish, sunlight, low fat dairy products. Women over 50 require a minimum of 600 IU per day intake of vitamin D and women above 70 require 800 IU.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)
Omega-3 fatty acids reduce cholesterol and the risk of stroke. If you are confused between – whether to use fish oil supplement or increase the intake of fish (due to the greater risk of heart diseases), here’s the solution – you can have two servings of fish a week. According to a research, consumption of EPA, a supplement for fish oil, could not decrease the intensity of hot flashes, though the number of times hot flashes occurs did decrease.
Note – Fish oil has the potential to increase the risk of bleeding, if you take blood-thinners such as aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix) or any other.
Read here : 31 Health Benefits of Cod Liver Oil
Flaxseed and its oil contain plant-based chemicals that act like estrogen; and they may help reduce the symptoms of menopause. Since the researches that have been conducted till date are still unsure about the risk of breast cancer as an outcome of the intake of flaxseed supplements, you can include flaxseed in your diet. The alpha-linolenic acid in flaxseed converts into omega-3 fatty acids, in the body, post consumption. This conversion into omega-3 fatty acids is considered good for the health of heart.
Note – Consult your doctor before trying flaxseed supplements.
Don't miss this “Amazing Colon Cleanser Recipe made of Flaxseeds“.
Soy contains isoflavones which, some researchers say, is similar to estrogen compounds, and helps reduce vaginal dryness, mood swings and hot flashes. But some researchers differ, as they believe that isoflavones is a placebo. The actual improvement in hot flashes remains ambiguous and differs woman to woman. Researchers are still trying to discover about the risk of breast cancer and other diseases due to the use of isoflavone supplements, as happens in the case of estrogen supplements. The safer option is to include foods containing soy in your diet instead of ingesting supplements. Seek advice from your doctor for better guidance about the use of soy. Tofu, soy nuts, soy milk, and tempeh are considered to be good sources of soy.
Women above the age of fifty, require calcium because they bear the risk of osteoporosis due to the decline in estrogen levels. You can intake calcium through supplements as well. Ensure that you consume 1,200 mg of elemental calcium per day through diet/supplements for the sake of keeping your bones strong. Eat green leafy vegetables, almonds, black strap molasses, dried beans, and low fat dairy. Calcium citrate gets easily digested and absorbed in comparison to calcium carbonate; the latter requires an acidic environment to be absorbed, hence, you can have it along with a glass of orange juice. However, calcium carbonate has more of elemental calcium than calcium citrate.
If you don’t want to resort to allopathic or homeopathic treatments to cure hot flashes, then go for herbal remedies. Though, herbs are known to suppress the symptoms of any ailment in a natural manner, without any harm. But, in case of hot flashes, we recommend you to be very careful while choosing any herb as many uncertainties are associated with them.
8. Red Clover
Red clover is suggested to relieve symptoms like mood swings, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes. It is still unidentified that if it contains plant-based estrogen/phytoestrogens which can act as a substitute for estrogen. According to researchers, red clover showed positive and negative results. Some females experienced severe side effects while some did not.
Note – It is discovered that red clover might have harmful effects on hormone-sensitive tissues, for instance, uterus or breasts. In addition, it may also interact with other medications such as blood-thinners, birth control pills, and other drugs.
9. Black Cohosh
According to a research, after ingesting black cohosh, some ladies showed positive result while some experienced negative effects. It is still obscure that how it works as estrogen. It is used to alleviate hot flashes, depression, mood swings, and irritability. It reduces vaginal dryness and the possibility of osteoporosis. Since studies are still on regarding the risk of breast and uterus cancer, and after effects of this herb, we suggest you to discuss with your doctor before trying black cohosh. In a research, some people perceived damage of liver and it is also considered harmful for those who have affective disorder.
Pycnogenol is basically an extract of pine bark which alleviates symptoms like depression, anxiety, headache, sleep problems, fatigue, vaginal dryness and hot flashes. It is strictly forbidden for those who have autoimmune diseases or who are under medical supervision for immune system.
Ginseng is used to treat symptoms such as mood swings, insomnia, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness. It is still obscure if it contains plant-based estrogens/phytoestrogens, and the risk of breast cancer is another probability. The research conducted about the use of ginseng at the time of menopause showed that it can help one in coping with mood swings and insomnia, but not with hot flashes.
Note – Do not consume ginseng with stimulants as it may interact with other medications, such as insulin and blood-thinners.
12. Dong Quai
It is famous in traditional Chinese medicine for treating gynecologic conditions for over a millennium. According to a few researches, dong quai is not so helpful for hot flashes.
Note – Women with fibroids or blood-clotting problems like hemophilia, or women who consume drugs like warfarin (coumadin) for blood thinning must consult their health care professional before using this herb as it may result into excessive bleeding.
13. Evening Primrose Oil
It has many side effects like nausea, diarrhea, inflammation, troubles with blood clotting and affects immune system. It is also used to conduct seizures in females who exhibit the symptoms of schizophrenia and have been recommended to take antipsychotic medication. Do not use evening primrose oil with anticoagulants or phenothiazines (a type of psychotherapeutic agent).
Note of caution – Although we have informed you about the risks that are involved with each therapy described above, yet we want you to consult your doctor or a trained herbalist before trying out these herbal remedies. Moreover, the research is going on about these herbs. We have not given you any final statement with surety. Moreover, there are numerous brands that manufacture herbal products, so for ensuring the quality, purity and safety, you can visit an herbalist. Do not endeavor any herbal treatment if you have to undergo an impending surgery after a week or two.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Don’t take too much stress. Swimming, dancing, chiropractic, biofeedback techniques – all these activities assist in relieving stress.
- Sip cold water as the hot flash starts. Keep some extra ice water beside your bed, so that, if you feel such sensation late night, you would be able to resist it.
- Refrain from eating acidic, fried and spicy food, and diet pills as all these add up to heat and acid in your body. Follow a balanced diet strictly.
- Lessen the intake of caffeinated and hot drinks.
- Quit alcohol and smoking (including passive smoking). These habits will lessen the risks that are involved such as heart disease and osteoporosis and it also lessens the severity of hot flashes.
- Prefer light cotton clothes over tight ones. Abstain from synthetic fabric completely as it adds to the heat and sweating, whether using it as a bed linen or as an outfit.
- Dress yourself in layers because that would provide you with an option of putting off the uppermost layer when you feel the sensation of hot flashes. Some people put on damp clothes at night.
- Do not expose yourself to sunlight for long. Protect yourself from heat as much as possible.
- Keep your bedroom cool at night and use chilled pillows. Use air conditioner.
- Deep breathe early in the morning and in the evening
- If you are a patient of obesity, lose some weight to reduce hot flashes.