If you have experienced a sudden, intense hot sensation on your face and upper body which is usually preceded by fast heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, nausea, weakness or headaches then you have already experienced a hot flash. Hot flashes are mostly due to hormonal changes related to menopause. However, it can also be caused by lifestyle factors and certain medications.
Lower estrogen level from menopause somehow confuses the hypothalamus which is the body’s thermostat resulting to a hot flash episode. The most effective treatment is still hormone therapy but it isn’t the best treatment for everyone especially because of its adverse effects like increased risk of heart disease and breast cancer. The good news is that there are natural remedies for hot flashes.
The most effective among the natural remedies for hot flashes is simply avoiding triggers. Several studies indicate that hot flash episodes are usually connected to certain triggers like food, stress, etc. Every woman has a different trigger and you have to discover yours with a little experimentation and by having a hot flash diary. Among the most common triggers are stress, alcohol intake, high caffeine intake and spicy food.
Relaxation techniques can be helpful in preventing too much stress which leads to hot flash episodes. Other possible triggers include hot weather, hot showers, smoking, hot rooms, thick clothes, medication and diet pills. Once you know your triggers, you will be able to avoid them and prevent hot flash episodes.
Herbs and Menopause Supplements
Certain herbs and other natural compounds have been proven to be effective in increasing estrogen levels. There are many menopause supplements available today. In fact, this is among the most popular natural remedies for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. These products basically work by regulating hormone levels to prevent menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.
Some herbs that are common ingredients in these supplements include dong quai, ginseng, licorice root, red raspberry leaves, sarsaparilla, damiana, chasteberry, motherwort, black cohosh and wild yams. Just be careful in choosing a product and make sure it is made from high quality ingredients and doesn’t have side effects.
For some women, taking vitamin E every day can significantly reduce hot flash episodes or severity. A breast cancer prevention trial by the National Cancer Institute and National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project found that 400-1000 I.U. of vitamin E daily can be helpful in reducing hot flash symptoms. Vitamin B6 and Peridin-C which contains antioxidants have also been linked to relief for hot flashes.
Diet and Exercise
Studies indicate that being overweight or obese is connected with more severe menopausal symptoms. Again, certain foods can trigger hot flash episodes so you need to be careful of what you eat. Exercise has also been proven to be effective in reducing severity of menopausal symptoms like insomnia and hot flashes. It can also help prevent osteoporosis which usually occurs during menopause since it helps strengthen the bones.