Menopause is just a fact of life for women, and hot flashes and night sweats are unfortunately part and parcel of that.
A hot flash is an uncomfortable period of intense heat and sweating. You may feel it coming, but they can appear suddenly. Some of the symptoms that you may experience are your face getting red, your skin suddenly feeling warm, tingling in your fingers, your heart beat increasing, and sweating.
Hot flashes begin before menopause, though, and for many women they continue to deal with hot flashes. In fact, The North American Menopause Society has said that hot flashes can continue up to 10 years after menopause.
While there is no evidence of what truly causes them, it is suspected that they can be triggered by stress, alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine, smoking or being around smokers, a warm room, or even wearing tight clothing. Wearing light clothing, regular exercise, sipping ice cold drinks, and medication can all help to prevent hot flashes.
Many women barely notice their hot flashes, however, for some their intensity can affect their quality of life.
You could keep a journal of your symptoms, so that you can narrow down your own triggers- you may see a pattern emerge.
There are a lot of things you can do to relieve your hot flashes, but we’ve narrowed it down to the top 5.
1. Easy Does It
Try dressing in layers, you can adjust your clothing dependent on how you’re feeling. At bedtime wear cotton pajamas, and use cotton bed sheets. Keep an ice pack at the side of your bed, and ice cold water so that at the start of your hot flash you can sip it slowly to regulate your body temperate.
2. The Medicine Chest
Natural remedies such as black cohosh, ginseng, dong quai, and kava are used to relive the symptoms of hot flashes. However, these can affect the liver, and may cause an adverse reaction if you are on any other medication. Speak to your doctor before opting for natural medications.
Traditional: There are plenty of medications that doctors are using to help women dealing with menopause and hot flashes. Even though they weren’t developed for the purpose of treating menopause, they have proved effective. These include: nerve-mediated tablets and antidepressants.
Because a possible trigger for hot flashes is anxiety, breathing deeply can help you remain calm and ride out the hot flash. Getting anxious about the hot flash can make the symptoms worse. Regularly practicing yoga or meditation is excellent practice for breathing and relaxation.
4. Freezer Time
Keep ice packs, or ice cold washcloths in the freezer so that you can get instant relief. If you’re on the go keep a cool pack handy.
5. Hormone Replacement Therapy
Doctors prescribe the lowest dose possible in order to be effective and for the shortest time required to relieve the most severe symptoms. Estrogen therapy is not appropriate for someone who has had breast cancer, or a blood clot.