Hot flashes are sudden intense hot sensations in your body. They can be very uncomfortable leaving you soaked in sweat. They are caused by hormonal fluctuations during pre-menopause and menopause, due to a declining level of oestrogen and progesterone. Symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood swings, osteoporosis, aging skin, lack of energy, joint pain, weight gain, headaches, dry and brittle hair, thinning hair and poor memory. They are a classic signs of menopause and the most common reason to seek treatment. Eighty-five per cent of women in Western countries experience hot flashes. During a hot flash women may also experience irregular heartbeat and pulse, and profuse perspiration. Cold chills often follow hot flashes. Sleep usually gets disturbed due to night sweats.
Beat the heat Here are some natural ways to help keep the body cool and ward off hot flashes and night sweats before they begin:
- Learn More about Herbal Remedies for Menopause
- Taking Vitamin E supplements (up to 800 IU) reduces the severity of hot flushes. Those who do not benefit from vitamin E may add soya to their diet.
- Increase your workout, and walk briskly for 30-40 minutes every day. Exercise increases endorphins, which make you feel good.
- Change your diet to include fresh fruits and raw juices. Avoid greasy meals, late night eating, overeating, alcohol and coffee.
- Eat small but frequent meals to avoid the heat generated by digesting large amounts of food.
- Phytoestrogens relieve menopausal symptoms, so consume foods rich in isoflavones like legumes and soya products such as tofu and soya milk.
- Yam (suran) contains natural compounds, which reduce menopausal symptoms.
- Eat sunflower seeds, almonds, olives, spinach and papaya.
- Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed in your diet. It is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which is good for the heart and contains phytoestrogens called lignans. Grind the seeds and add to your cereal, yoghurt, salad, stew or soup.
- Avoid spicy foods to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flushes.
- Wear layers and wicking fabrics to help keep the body cool and dry. At night you should wear wicking sleepwear otherwise known as menopause pajamas.
- Reduce stress with the help breathing exercises and yoga.
- Keep ice water handy.
- Take a shower before going to bed.
- Use wicking bedding and especially a wicking pillowcase to keep you cooler and drier at night.
- Cool off with sprays or moist wipes.
- Avoid spicy food, alcohol, hot weather, sauna, stress, anger and cigarettes.
- Ayurvedic herbs such as Brahmi, Ashoka, Shatavari and supplements of isoflavones are effective.