About 75 to 85% of American women are estimated to experience hot flashes as they enter their menopausal years. The good news is that many have found great relief from treating them with general holistic lifestyle changes that also support them in remaining healthy and fit.
What are hot flashes?
Hot flashes, also known as hot flushes, are a sudden, transient sensation of warmth or heat that spreads over a woman’s body, creating a flushing, or redness, that is particularly noticeable on the face and upper body. The experience of hot flashes can range from feeling a delicate flush to a super uncomfortable sensation of being “on fire”.
These flashes are the body’s reaction to a decreased supply of the hormone estrogen, which naturally happens as women approach menopause. Not all women experience hot flashes. For some, estrogen production decreases gradually, producing fewer hot flashes. But for others, the ovaries may stop estrogen production abruptly sending them on a miserable rollercoaster ride of often uncontrollable hot flashes.
Hot Flash Symptoms
While menopause can bring an end to bothersome PMS like symptoms, the new hormone imbalances of menopause can bring up new issues associated with hot flashes such as:
- a sudden feeling of heat that temporarily comes and goes
- redness of the skin especially the face and chest
- perspiration, mostly on your upper body
- chills as the hot flash lets up
- night sweats
- rapid heartbeat
- feeling of weakness
Hot flashes are one of the most common complaints during the menopausal transition affecting over 75% of women. They are known to strike anytime and generally flashes last for four or five years with different levels of severity among individuals.
In addition to hot flashes, many women experience a combination of menopausal symptoms which creates a lot of unpleasantness for women.
Fortunately, there are many natural ways to minimize these effects that offer hope for hot flash sufferers.
How to stop hot flashes
Hot flashes can seem to come from nowhere at times and can be triggered by so many different things. Here are some tips to help you get control as soon as possible:
- Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water – at least 48 ounces a day will help keep you from overheating and will replenish your reserve after a hot flash.
- Keep a glass of water by you all day long and refill it often. Try to get 48 ounces a day to keep you from overheating and to replenish after a flash moment.
- Dress in layers – stick to cotton and other breathable fabrics and loose-fitting clothes that let air circulate around your body to keep you cooler.
- Keep your indoor environment cool – open the windows or use an air conditioner or fan. An indoor temperature below 70 during the day and about 65 degrees at night will help your body temperature stay on the low side.
- Skip spicy foods – go easy on hot and spicy foods to avoid reactions.
- Stay out of the heat – avoid excessive sunbathing, hot tubs and saunas.
Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes
“Going natural” in treating hot flashes can be helpful and it is highly recommended to try natural remedies as your first approach. Here are some tips to get started:
1. Healthy Food Choices
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.
Getting your daily supply of good fats, lean protein, complex carbs, and plenty of fruits and vegetables is vital as is more water and less caffeine and alcohol.
Eating foods which are high in phytoestrogens such as flax, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are a great aid if you suffer hot flashes often. Phytoestrogens are compounds that are found in plant foods and mimic real estrogen in the body.
Ensuring adequate fiber in your diet helps to restore hormonal balance because fiber helps to metabolize estrogen. Consuming 25 grams of fiber per day is beneficial.
Also, know that sugar can make it hard for your body to process estrogen, so you want to limit intake of processed sweets. These changes can help not just hot flashes but also many of the overall symptoms that menopause presents like dry skin and hair, fatigue, depression, headaches and even weight gain.
2. Get Stress Levels Under Control
A woman’s ever-changing hormonal levels during menopause can trigger chronic stress. Low levels of progesterone and high levels of estrogen can wreak havoc in general, so it is important to address stress as a means of naturally balancing hormone levels.
Living a stress filled life due to emotional pressure and anxiety can set off your body to release stress hormones known as epinephrine and norepinephrine. This type of stress can raise your body temperature and set off a reaction.
To improve hormonal balance, workout, sweat and move your body every day to help combat stress and help your liver to do its job to detoxify your body of unwanted estrogen (the kind that causes hot flashes).
3. Think Yoga
This form of exercise provides relief from muscle tension, can elevate your mood, strengthen bones, muscles, and ligaments. Yoga helps to relieve hot flashes by reducing stress and cooling down the body. Many yoga poses have been extremely useful for reducing hot flashes and bringing hormonal balance such as the downward-facing dog, camel pose, standing forward bend, bridge pose and child’s pose.
4. Mindful Meditation and Deep Breathing
Any form of meditation and deep breathing can offer you overall calmness, easing anxiety and irritability which in turn can help you get control over hot flashes. Both also help control your breathing rate and rhythm, centering the mind and improving focus.
Herbs that Help with Hot Flashes
Herbs that help to keep you cool and provide hormonal balance are your best remedy for hot flashes. Here are a few to lower the temperature:
Black cohosh is considered one of the best-studied traditional herbs for hot flashes and seems to work by supporting and maintaining hormonal levels, which in turn may lessen the severity of hot flashes. Black cohosh also does not appear to have estrogenic activity and may be considered safe for women with a personal or family history of breast cancer.
Vitex (Chaste berry) offers gentle and indirect hormone normalization which can, in turn, keep hot flashes in check.
Chickweed Tincture adding a daily serving of this herb has been reported to lower both the number and severity of hot flashes.
Maca is a well-known herb from Peru, used to treat female hormone balance for centuries. Research has shown how Maca helps to relieve menopause symptoms, including hot flashes.
Want to read more articles like this? Sign up for my FREE newsletter
Bonus: Download my ‘12-Key Tips for Healthy Digestion’ Guide
Essential Oils for Hot Flashes
Another wonderful and natural way to deal with hot flashes, as well as hormone imbalances and mood swings, is by using specific essential oils as added support during menopause. There are several companies to choose from these days so make sure the oils are pure, therapeutic grade and from a reputable source.
Check out these recommended oils to cool off during hot flashes, fend off night sweats and much more:
Clary sage has a relaxing effect which can reduce hot flashes and contains natural properties that are similar to estrogen to help achieve hormonal balance.
Coriander has naturally-occurring phytoestrogens which can balance hormones and reduce hot flashes brought on by a drop in estrogen levels.
Peppermint has always been known to be wonderful for reducing anxiety and headaches.
Lemon can be helpful for fatigue, insomnia and mood swings.
Lavender is another favorite for helping with hormonal balance, relaxation, insomnia, anxiety as well as dry skin and hair which are also often symptoms of menopause.
Geranium can help reduce nervousness and anxiety.
Ylang Ylang is often known as a “feel good” oil due to it’s relaxing and mood-boosting sweet scent.
Sandalwood, also known for its amazing scent, can be used for calming general anxiety and tension.
Supplements for Hot Flashes
There are effective supplements highly recommended to specifically help deal with hot flashes such as Vitamin E, B-Complex and Evening primrose oil (black currant oil).
Getting a daily dose of at least 400 IUs of natural vitamin E (as mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols) in Ultra Gamma E Complex can help alleviate symptoms of hot flashes in some menopausal women.
The water-soluble B-complex vitamins found in B-Supreme are great for helping reduce stress and increasing natural energy. Vitamin B6 is especially helpful for women since it helps the liver to break down estrogen, which can be a key player in causing hot flashes. And Evening Primrose or borage oil found in GLA 240 is a good source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that can help reduce menopausal symptoms.
Consider supplementing with Pycnogenol as part of your arsenal to combat menopausal symptoms. Research has shown that taking 30 mg of Pycnogenol twice a day for a period of three months, significantly reduced hot flashes, improved sleep, and reduced vaginal dryness.
The most important part of dealing with the trials of menopause is to stay positive and be willing to try different alternatives. This is not a time to suffer in silence. CONTACT ME and let me support you through your personal journey by giving you some options to fit your individual body whether through a better dietary plan, essential oils, supplements or even a helpful discussion on aging gracefully.
Try these natural remedies to get control of your hot flashes. Let me know what remedy worked best for you in the comments below.