You would be unusual if you found hot flashes pleasant, yet about 8 out of every 10 women in the US experience them in the weeks, months, and years leading up to menopause. Dr. Parisa Pourzand has helped many women manage hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause, but you may find that home remedies work best for you.
Why do hot flashes happen?
Scientists aren’t sure exactly why hot flashes happen, but it could be related to changes in circulation. As you likely already know, when you have a hot flash, you suddenly feel hot, begin to sweat, and you may flush. You may also have a rapid heart rate or feel chills.
When hot flashes happen at night, they’re called night sweats.
What can I do?
We won’t tell you that you can make a few easy changes and never have to deal with another hot flash, because that’s extremely unlikely. However, hot flashes are often associated with particular triggers, and avoiding those triggers may be able to help you have fewer, less intense episodes.
Some of the common triggers for hot flashes include:
- Spicy food
- Smoking tobacco
- Being too warm
One of the simplest things you can do to try to avoid hot flashes is to keep your environment cooler, especially at night. You may want to keep a damp towel in the refrigerator or freezer, or use an ice pack.
Wearing looser clothing made of breathable fabrics such as cotton can also be helpful. Many women use fans during the day as well.
Smoking is terrible for your overall health, and could make hot flashes worse. If you want to quit, talk to Dr. Pourzand. She may have resources to help.
Avoiding alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine are all pretty simple, self-explanatory steps. Eliminating stress is more difficult.
Some early studies seem to indicate that mindfulness training can help reduce the number and frequency of hot flashes. That could be because mindfulness can reduce stress. You may want to investigate yoga, tai chi, mediation, or practice deep breathing exercises.
Regular exercise can also help lower stress, and of course, limiting your voluntary commitments and scheduling time for relaxation can be important tools in combating stress.
Should I take supplements?
There are a couple of different possible supplements that may help, but you should discuss them with Dr. Pourzand before beginning.
The first is black cohosh. It’s a popular supplement, but shouldn’t be used for more than six months. You should also keep in mind that herbal supplements like black cohosh can have side effects and can change how other medications you take work.
The second common supplement used for hot flashes is soy. Experts recommend supplementing your diet with foods like tofu or edamame. The theory is that soy may be helpful in reducing hot flashes because it contains compounds that are similar to estrogen.
In addition to these home remedies, there are prescription medications that may help you. If you’d like to learn more about hot flashes, how to prevent them, and what kinds of treatments are available, book an appointment with Dr. Pourzand today. You can schedule at either location online, or simply call the location that works best for you.