Ladies, it’s time to talk about hot flashes. If you have them, you know it. If you don’t you know they’re inevitable. Here are some tips and ideas including natural hot flash remedies to get relief and products to help deal with the discomfort.
Hot flashes are those obnoxious, embarrassing times when it feels like your body has ramped up the thermostat. There are plenty of ways to combat them, but many are fraught with warnings of cancer or are ineffective. So what can you do?
What Are Hot Flashes?
Let’s start with what, exactly, a hot flash is. It’s a feeling of intense heat that only you feel. It’s not caused by anything outside your body.
They can sneak up on you, or give you some warning. Many women say that warning signals can be: tingling in your fingers; your heart beating faster; skin feeling warm; face getting red or flushed; and/or sweating, especially in the upper body.
They can last a few seconds to 10 minutes, but average about 4 minutes.
Hot Flashes Causes
While doctors aren’t 100% sure about what causes them, they start because of the hormonal changes in perimenopause and menopause.
There are things that can trigger a hot flash, and while it differs from woman to woman, generally triggers can include: alcohol consumption; caffeine consumption; spicy foods, stress or anxiety; being in a hot room or outside on a hot day; wearing tight clothing, smoking or being exposed to cigarette smoke; or bending over. Functionally most of my day as a business woman and mother!
Many doctors recommend keeping a journal of your menopause symptoms, including what you were eating or doing before a hot flash comes on. After some time you may see what your trigger or triggers are and you can avoid those things.
Mine seem to come out of the blue, but my gut instinct is that they are stress induced… I have 2 kids at home, 3 dogs, 3 cats and a Dementia Mother In Law we moved in to care for on the regular. The days I don't have anxiety and stress are few and far between!
Natural Hot Flash Remedies
There are ways that your doctor may suggest, like hormone replacement therapy or HRT. The problem with HRT is that it’s been shown to cause cancer.
I asked my doctor about HRT for hot flashes and avoiding Alzheimers and she said that it can help hot flashes, but that the health ramifications were pretty dire. I decided to go a more natural route!
Flaxseed oil contains fatty acids. These fatty acids are thought to help reduce menopausal symptoms. They also contain plant lignans. Plant lignans are similar to estrogen, which could stabilize estrogen levels in menopausal women.
Black Cohosh has been in the news a lot lately. It is an herbal supplement that helps some women with hot flashes. Initially it was thought it worked because of plant estrogens, but this has been disproven.
Red Clover has been reported to help some women, but not others. It has few reported side effects, so it may be worth a try.
Dong Quai has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat many gynecological conditions. Scientists are at odds about whether it helps or not, but if you have fibroids, or any issues with blood clotting you should NOT use this.
Ginseng has been shown to help with other menopausal symptoms, like mood swings or sleep problems. It hasn’t been shown to help with hot flashes specifically, but since either can be a trigger, it may be worth trying.
Kava, as with ginseng, helps a trigger for hot flashes, anxiety, but not hot flashes specifically. WARNING: Kava has been associated with liver disease and the FDA has issued a warning to patients and providers about it regarding liver damage. This is a definite “consult your doctor” kind of natural treatment.
Evening Primrose oil has been used for centuries to relieve hot flashes. It works for some women, but not others and can have side effects such as inflammation, problems with blood clotting and the immune system, nausea, and diarrhea. If you take medications for blood clotting issues or for some mental illnesses, consult your doctor before using it.
Sage is usually something we think about at Thanksgiving, but a few cups of sage tea a day can help your hot flashes. Besides that it can also help with digestion and some digestive issues.
Vitamins C and E are both effective in relief for hot flashes. With vitamin C, the bioflavonoids found in it can help with the frequency of hot flashes, while the antioxidants in vitamin E helps with reducing the symptoms. Supplements or eating more foods that contain these vitamins will help.
Natural can be best, but before you make a change in how you are treating your menopausal symptoms consult your doctor. Some herbal supplements can interact with medications you may be taking, or exacerbate medical issues that you may have. Also, herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA so quality, safety, and purity may vary greatly from one brand to another. Be smart about your body and your health.
Products To Help With Hot Flashes!
If you have tried everything and still get those, oh crap, here it comes feeling, there are some things that you can try to make yourself more comfortable!
There are so many great ways to make tea, but that cute picture up there with the sage in the cup, that creeps me out! My husband got me this kind of tea infuser and I LOVE IT! You can put anything in there to steep and then just set it on top of the cup and it automatically strains out all the gunk!
I have one of these in the freezer at all times! When I get super hot and just can't get cooled down, putting one of these on my shoulders can make a world of difference! The thing about a big drapey one like is that you don't have to “manage” it, it just stays on… unlike a kitchen towel around your kid's lunchbox frozen things (just me?)
Clip On Fan
This has saved my husband SO MUCH MONEY on the air conditioning bills (we live in Florida!) I clip one of these onto our stairway upstairs and it blows right on me. Sometimes even turning the air down super low doesn't matter if it not moving it doesn't help! (I DO NOT like the USB or battery ones because I am busy and that is just one more thing to manage… I like this one that can sit on the table too!)
Natural Remedies For Hot Flashes Wrapup
I think I am just on the leading edge of hot-flashes, being 52 and still getting the curse regularly. That said, I am already sick of fanning myself and asking, “is it hot in here or just me?” (it is always me… I have the air down so cold everyone else looks like we live in the Arctic Circle!)
Feeling hot is a biological change for me that I am not liking. I have always been the one wearing sweatshirts int he summer and now I am bypassing all the cute clothes in the closet for sleeveless shirts and daisy dukes to stay cool.
But, some of the things on this list have helped so much and are making it a little more comfortable to be in my own skin when I feel that hot feeling come on, and I hope they will help you too!