Do you often feel waves of intense warmth traveling through your body out of nowhere? Do you often wake up in the middle of the night covered in sweat? If yes, you aren’t alone, my dear.
In this article, I will discuss tips for dealing with these angry hot flashes. But first, let’s understand why hot flashes even occur in the first place.
What Are Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes are brief but intense feelings of sudden warmth spreading over your entire body or in the upper part. It commonly affects women approaching menopause.
It typically begins 2-3 years before your last period and continues till a few years after menopause. There’s no exact cause for it, but experts think it is because of depleting estrogen levels in the body. Estrogen is a female reproductive hormone that our body stops producing around menopause.
This little hormone affects the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that regulates body temperature. Its declining levels give your thermostat a false alarm that your body is too hot, which results in heat release. Hot flashes also affect women whose ovaries are surgically removed and men with prostate cancer.
One episode may typically last 1-5 minutes. It may start from your head down through the neck to the entire body in a wave-like fashion. It is often followed by
- Tingling sensation in fingers
- Excess sweating involving the head, neck, and chest
- Flushed face
7 Tips to Prevent And Reduce Hot Flashes
Now, we are well aware of where hot flashes stem from. Let’s move on to the tips to get rid of these hot and burning sensations.
- Identify And Avoid Triggers
There’s always a clue or something that elicits hot flashes. These triggers are different for every woman, but some common causes are:
- Being dressed up in tight clothes
- Consuming Alcohol
- Being in a hot room
- Excess layers of blankets
- Consuming caffeine
- Spicy foods
- Red wine
- Hot weather
To identify the cause, observe closely when hot flashes occur and what you did just before it. Notice anything suspicious and take note in your diary. Once you identify the culprit, avoid it as much as possible.
Kindly note that staying away from this trigger will only lessen the frequency of symptoms. It won’t prevent hot flashes altogether.
- Maintain Weight
Researchers have noticed a pattern that obese women experience more frequent and severe hot flashes. A cross-sectional study, involving 749 women aged 45 to 60 years, found that hot flashes were more prevalent in participants with a BMI greater than 30 kg/m. Other than that, obesity is also linked with many other menopausal symptoms.
So, it’s really important to maintain your weight in a healthy range. It’s not just something that will benefit your general health 10, 20, or 30 years later from now. It will improve your symptoms and quality of life right the moment you start exercising. An article published in the Journal of Internal Medicine suggests that losing as little as 10% of body weight is enough to experience improvement in hot flashes.
It may seem like a stupid idea when you are already drenched in sweat, but the truth is exercise can calm angry hot flashes. A workout session stabilizes your thermo-regulatory system, lowers your core body temperature, and improves the heat dissipation mechanism.
A study published in Journal Maturita found that resistance training three times a week for eight weeks decreased the frequency of hot flashes in postmenopausal women. Besides that, it helps you shred excess pounds of your body and prevent many chronic conditions, a win-win situation. So are you ready to spend more time in your gym clothes?
- Take a Diet Rich In Nutrients
The meals you eat directly affect your menopausal symptoms. Some may worsen your hot flashes, including unhealthy fats, spicy and processed foods and caffeine. While some nutrient-rich diets are known to improve your menopausal symptoms.
A systemic review published in 2021 found that consuming whole grains, unprocessed food and vegetables may reduce vasomotor symptoms, including hot flashes. Here are some of the things you can add to your diet to get rid of this annoying sensation:
- Soya beans
- Fruits such as apricot, pear, kiwi, banana and apple
- Olive oil
- Whole grains
- Fatty fish
- Adopt These Healthy Habits
Adopting these simple habits in your daily life will make it much easier to deal with the bothersome menopausal symptoms.
- Drink ice water when you feel it coming on.
- Dress in layers so you can easily remove them when you feel hot.
- Always carry a portable fan to use when a hot flash strikes.
- Eat small and frequently instead of ingesting bulk meals.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- Use cotton bed liners.
- Keep your bedroom cool at night.
- Wear clothes made of synthetic fibers such as cotton.
- Explore Mind-Body Practices
You would be surprised to know that some women find relief from hot flashes through mind-body techniques. A randomized trial conducted in 2011 suggests that mindfulness training programs significantly improve hot flashes and night sweats in postmenopausal women.
Examples of these therapies include acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, meditation, hypnotherapy, and stress reduction techniques. I strongly suggest you try one of these practices. These techniques might improve other menopausal symptoms, such as sleep, even if they don’t help with hot flashes.
- Consider Hormonal Therapy
Hormonal therapy focuses on replenishing estrogen that your body has stopped making. It relieves almost all menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and bone weakness.
However, there are certain risks associated with this treatment. To know if it’s right for you, we recommend you consult your healthcare professional.
You can’t escape menopause and its symptoms. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer from hot flashes. By adopting healthy lifestyle choices, you can reduce its frequency and intensity. However, it’s time to see a doctor if it affects your quality of life or causes serious discomfort.