Hot flashes are mostly associated with menopause and pre-menopause, but they can occur due to various hormonal conditions as well. Women having hot flashes experience a sudden and brief episode of intense heat, accompanied by sweating and red flushed face.
Some women also experience rapid heartbeat as well. Most women first breakout in sweat and get chills shortly after hot flash subsides. Many women experiencing heavy sweating get hot flashes at night along with , which interferes with their sleep. This condition is known as night sweats.
Menopause And Hot Flushes
The duration and severity of hot flashes differ from woman to woman during menopause. Some may have symptoms of hot flushes for a very short period during menopause; others may have hot flushes for life. But usually its effect becomes less severe over time.
Hot Flash Triggers
Not every woman gets hot flashes during menopause. Usually hormonal imbalance and changes in temperature are considered the prime cause of hot flashes. However, sedentary lifestyle and ethnicity often triggers hot flashes in women.
Consuming alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, smoking stress, obesity and tight clothing are also known to trigger episodes of hot flashes during menopause. African-American women are more likely to suffer from hot flashes in comparison to European women.
Ways to Reduce Hot Flashes
Since your body temperature rises when you experience hot flashes, try various ways to keep your body cool. Wear light cotton clothes and keep your bedroom temperature cool at night. Practice deep abdominal breathing when you have onset of hot flashes. Also practice deep breathing every morning and evening for at least 15 minutes to keep your body relaxed.
Keeping yourself active can reduce the onset of hot flashes. For this, regular exercise like walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing can be helpful. Exercise will also help to reduce the risk of obesity, which often triggers hot flashes. Also try various stress reduction techniques like yoga and meditation so that your body gets relaxed and you can sleep well at night.
When the above remedies do not help, doctors suggest medications and treatments for relieving the patients from the discomfort. Hormone replacement therapy is used to re-establish body’s estrogens and progesterone levels.
This not only prevents hot flashes but also relieves women from other symptoms of menopause like mood swings and vaginal dryness. But low doses should be used as hormone replacement therapy as it often increases the risk of heart disease and cancer, blood clots and gallbladder inflammation. If HRT is not the right treatment for you, doctors may prescribe anti-depressants, vitamin B complex, Vitamin and ibuprofen. Sometimes oral contraceptives are also prescribed.
Some botanical and herbal therapies have shown promising results in treating hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. But not all of them have been supported by solid research. So before taking any herb, consult your doctor to avoid side effects or interactions with other medications. The herbs that have been found effective are:
Some studies have revealed that black cohosh can effectively eliminate the symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats and other symptoms associated with menopause.
Soy products and red clover contain isoflavones and estrogens like compound that can bring relief from symptoms associated with menopause like night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings and sleeplessness etc.
Some other herbs that can be considered for treating hot flashes include evening primrose oil, flaxseeds etc. Though these herbs are extremely popular and extensive researches are going on to determine their effectiveness, yet they should be taken with caution as they are not yet approved by FDA.