Hot flashes - they are the hallmark of going through menopause, and the infamous butt of all menopause jokes out there. Nothing else causes hot flashes other than menopause - unless you have the flu and are struggling with body temperature. Not very encouraging, is it?
Women can treat all menopause symptoms with hormone therapy, but before they ask their doctor about it or even if they do decide to have it, there are a lot of completely natural remedies that work for menopause symptoms like night sweats or hot flashes.
These can include vitamins, minerals, herbal supplements, as well what we do on a day-to-day basis: our diet, exercise, and certain habits that may affect our health but also how we experience menopause symptoms.
Here is a list of these natural remedies and tips on how to reduce your hot flashes without prescription medications and hormone therapy. You can use these techniques and remedies when you are taking medication - just consult your doctor first.
There are a lot of herbal supplements out there, but which ones work for hot flashes? Here are some of the most popular herbal supplements that have been used by women for centuries, and are still used to this day. A lot of folk remedies and traditional remedies are being explored by modern science. The knowledge handed down to us by our ancestors isn't so "primitive" after all - a lot of scientists are finding out that their effects are very real and beneficial.
Black cohosh root has been used for centuries for treating menopause symptoms. It has been found especially helpful for women who are going through early menopause (before the age of 45). According to research, women experienced a 26% reduction in hot flashes when ingested black cohosh as a supplement.
Black cohosh is native to North America, and its other names include black bugbane, black snakeroot, or fairy candle. The last one is probably because of the pretty black cohosh flowers that look a bit like slender candles at the end of a long candlestick.
Ginseng is a widely available spice and supplement and has also been used to treat menopause symptoms for quite some time. The studies done on red ginseng have been very promising. It has been proven that ginseng reduces night sweats and hot flashes - but that's not all. This root is also excellent for keeping your cardiovascular system healthy, and it lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It's a good thing that it's such a popular ingredient in so many excellent recipes, teas, and even ice cream.
Red clover is known as a common inhabitant of meadows and lawns. A few people realize its incredible power. It's high in isoflavones, naturally occurring phytoestrogen that can help when your natural estrogen declines. It has been used for centuries by women as tea, tincture, and salad green. Because of this, red clover is one of the best natural remedies for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. It also has blood-thinning properties and improves blood flow.
Dong Quai is said to relieve hot flashes - and it's part of a long Chinese herbal tradition, used for thousands of years. It's used in many modern western supplements today to relieve the frequency of hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
In Chinese medicine, it has been also used to remedy menstruation issues like pain, uterine disorders, or irregular menstruation.
A word about phytoestrogen
Phytoestrogens occur naturally, in plants. You can ingest them either in the form of a supplement, tea, or with your dinner. You have probably ingested phytoestrogen today - by eating vegetables, legumes, or certain fruits and grains - especially if you eat soy.
Our bodies react to phytoestrogen just like our own estrogen that's produced by our bodies. Here is the great news - because hot flashes are caused by the decline of estrogen, having a diet rich in phytoestrogen has been shown to seriously reduce hot flashes.
It has many other benefits, like helping to prevent estrogen-loss-related bone loss.
Exercise and Bodywork
Exercise is healthy - in fact, it's becoming more and more apparent that exercise has a deep effect not only on our physical health but also on our psychological well-being. Menopause is a great motivator to get up and get moving.
When studies were done on women who went from leading a sedentary lifestyle to doing exercises like biking or jogging for 45 minutes, 5 times a week, it turned out that their basal core temperature was reduced greatly. This means that people would sweat at a higher temperature, and generally were more tolerant of temperature changes.
And here is the greatest thing of all - regular exercise has been proven to reduce the hot flash frequency in women by up to 60%.
In order to do this, you have to make exercise a regular habit.
Quitting Bad Habits
There's a lot of things you can do to ease your menopause symptoms like night sweats and hot flashes, but there's also a lot you can stop doing. Here are some bad habits that might actually be making your hot flashes a lot worse:
What Are Hot Flash Trigger Points?
A trigger point is anything that causes hot flashes to happen. Have you ever noticed that your hot flashes tend to occur after you get very stressed out, or don't drink enough water? It's important to get in tune with your body and listen to what it's saying to you.
Here are some trigger points that you should be on the lookout for:
Stress can wreak havoc in anyone's life, whether they're in middle school or nearing retirement. It's caused by a lot of factors, like family problems, work, money, or extreme circumstances. It's not enough to say "just try to relax", because that simply won't work. Of course, sometimes sitting down and doing breathing exercises might bring your heart rate and stress level down significantly, if you identify major stress as a trigger point, it might be a good idea to talk to someone about developing powerful coping mechanisms in order to deal with it. Stress often triggers hot flashes, and if it's a prolonged problem in your life, then the hot flashes might intensify and be hard to manage.
Weather can also be a trigger point for hot flashes. This makes sense since hot flashes happen as a result of your body's natural thermostat going a bit bonkers. When it's time to cool down, it might go into a tailspin. Try to keep cool when it's warm out, especially in your own home. Keep track of your thermostat and make sure the environment in your bedroom is cool and calming. If you sleep in a hot and stuffy bedroom, it might increase the severity of hot flashes or trigger them.
In order to help with body temperature changes, it's a good idea to dress in layers or even bring a fan. The good old-fashioned fan can be a lifesaver when you're having a hot flash and really help to keep your temperature down and provide a gentle breeze. Electric fans help too!
There are certain foods that may bring out your hot flashes. This might not come as a surprise, but spicy food has that effect on many people. It's no wonder these foods are called "hot"! Did you know that when you eat spicy foods your body temperature actually goes up? This then plays into the faulty, menopause-caused body thermostat and before you know it, you're having hot flashes and sweating profusely. Alcohol is also on the hot flash-triggering list. Taking it easy on the alcohol and spicy food is a big part of managing your menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. When it comes to alcohol, it can also trigger anxiety and depression, and interfere with your sleep cycles.
Hot flashes are a pain - they are exhausting and seem to take over your life. But hormone therapy and prescription drugs aren't everything. Although they are lifesavers and post-menopausal women will undertake some type of hormonal therapy sooner or later, there are ways in which you can alter your lifestyle, make adjustments to your diet, exercise, and supplement taking habits in order to greatly reduce your hot flashes, their frequency, and intensity.
This is also an excellent option for women that cannot have hormone therapy because of various health reasons. Talk to your doctor about any supplements you want to take because some herbs can react with medication. Natural menopause remedies are effective and strong - make sure that they don't interact with any prescription medication that you might be taking, and that if you choose to increase your exercise level you do it slowly.