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When searching Google for the best remedies to treat hot flashes there is an awful lot of “noise” to sift through. In this post, I’ve done my best to make it as simple as possible with solutions you can implement quickly and easily to relieve and in some cases stop hot flashes.
What Are Hot Flashes?
Most women will experience hot flashes at some point during their lives, with the majority of cases occurring during menopause. Hot flashes can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes and can occur several times a day.
To describe hot flashes is difficult. They come on suddenly and can feel like a burst of anxiety there may be:
- Tingling in the fingers
- Red Face
- Racing heart
- Feeling warm
There are many reasons why hot flashes occur but the main one is hormonal imbalances that happen due to menopause. The same imbalances that cause the hot flashes can also cause a myriad of other symptoms such as mood swings, night sweats and weight gain.
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However ever other causes can be a thyroid problem, or other conditions including breast cancer and diabetes. There is no quick fix for these changes in hormone levels and it may take some time for them to return to normal.
How Long Do Hot Flashes Last And How Often Do They Occur?
Generally, they can last anytime between 1 minute and 5 minutes. Like anything in health, it varies between women.
Some women like myself are unlucky enough to get them several times in one-hour others may only experience them a couple of times a week. The intensity can also vary.
What Things Can Trigger Hot Flashes?
Exactly what triggers hot flashes isn’t fully known.
There is evidence that hormonal changes in the body play a part and we know that estrogen levels start to decline during perimenopause which is usually when women start to experience hot flashes. The intensity of hot flashes vary between women. They generally become less prevalent as estrogen levels even out.
Some of the more common triggers:
Sometimes when you drink coffee you might feel a little hyper? That is the caffeine triggering your sympathetic nervous system. This, in turn, can cause hot flashes. Try to cut down on the coffee and tea and maybe replace them with a herbal drink. I know, I know it is a high price to pay.
2. High blood sugar
Most people already know that high blood sugar levels are not good for you but if your hot flushes seem worse during or after a meal that might be because of it.
Caffeine may trigger your sympathetic nervous system but controlled breathing triggers your parasympathetic nervous system which relaxes you.
Try breathing in for the count of 4, hold for 1 and out for the count of 7, hold for 1 and repeat. After 10 or so repeats you should be starting to feel nice and mellow. This is a great way to ease the more extreme hot flashes. Practice it regularly and it could reduce the occurrence of the hot flashes
Regular exercise can help bring your estrogen levels up
Examples of exercises you could do are;
It is a good idea to do a mix of aerobic and strength training. Keep aerobic exercise within your ability. No need to be doing stressful amounts of sweating while you pound the pavement on a mini-marathon.
Aim for at least 40 minutes every day. It may just be as simple as a brisk walk with a hill involved one day and a yoga routine that includes some strength moves the next.
5. Herbs and supplements
These herbs and supplements may not work for everyone and in some cases, relief may be minor.
- Black cohosh is well known for helping to balance hormone levels which in turn may alleviate menopause symptoms and especially hot flushes.
- Vitamin E may have a positive effect on hot flashes.
- Evening primrose oil can help moderate menopausal symptoms
- Smoking can cause hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. If you don’t smoke great, but try to stay away from second-hand smoke as well.
- This is by no means an exhaustive list but it certainly is a good place to start.
What is a good diet to help reduce hot flashes?
- Chicken, beef, and fish: These are all good sources of protein that can help to keep your body functioning properly.
- Olive oil and other fats: Good sources of healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, nut butter, and avocado can help to regulate hormone levels and reduce hot flashes.
- Leafy greens, broccoli, and other vegetables: These are all good sources of fiber and other nutrients that can help to keep your body functioning properly.
- Nuts, seeds, psyllium, and flaxseeds: These are all great sources of fiber as well as other key nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and zinc. All of these nutrients can help to reduce hot flashes.
- Herbs and spices: Certain herbs and spices such as black cohosh, ginger, red clover, and turmeric can all help to reduce hot flashes.
- Whole grains: Whole grains are a good source of fiber as well as many other key nutrients that can help to regulate hormone levels and reduce hot flashes.
Overall, eating a healthy and balanced diet is one of the best things you can do to reduce hot flashes. A nutritious diet rich in protein, healthy fats, fiber, and other key nutrients can help to keep your body functioning properly, balance hormone levels
Other things you can try for reducing hot flashes are:
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing
- Keep a fan handy
- Try to relax and de-stress as much as possible
- Avoid hot drinks
- Avoid spicy foods
- Eat small, frequent meals rather than large ones
- Drink plenty of water
Other things can help but these are just some of the most common.
All in all, it can be a tough time but there are plenty of ways to ease those hot flushes and make life more comfortable in the process. So don’t despair, try some of these tips and you may just find that not only do your hot flashes go away but you start feeling great again!
My Successful Cure For Hot Flushes
Perimenopause wasn’t a great time for me. I had severe hot flashes that came often and left me feeling exhausted.
They weren’t the only menopause symptom I suffered from but they were a big source of discomfort so it was these that I focused on trying to improve. Ironically, in improving the hot flashes many of the other menopause symptoms also disappeared.
I wasn’t hugely overweight. Probably around 63 kilos and my diet, I thought, was good. We ate whole grain, not much pasta or rice, only sweet stuff on the weekend, and ate lots of veggies.
After seeing an article on TV about David Gillespie’s book ‘Sweet Poison’ I bought it and read it. I then went on to read I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson.
Both books had a profound effect on me.
So much so that I woke up one morning and decided that I was quitting all grains and sugar and just like that I eliminated them from my diet!
And not just the white sugar that you add to your tea or coffee but sugar that is in fruit otherwise known as fructose was hunted down and expelled from my diet.
All that was left of the sweet killer was a few raspberries on my homemade, grain-free muesli and a daily piece of 85% chocolate. I wasn’t giving that dark piece of magic up for anyone or anything.
If you would like to know more about what sugar does to your health and how to quit it read this post
The Downside Was Overshadowed By The Upside
I felt absolute crap for about four days as my body adjusted.
Sugar and carbs. They are addictive and I was paying the price for my habit. That was the downside.
After two weeks I began to feel amazing. I had much more energy and was losing weight. The most notable effect though was the hot flushes.
They disappeared completely. Well worth the crappy few days.
I am not saying this is for everyone. For me, I thought it was well worth it and in fact, with further research, I cut my carbs even further and added more fat but that is a story for another day.
You and your hot flashes
With a healthy diet that is low in carbs, exercise and supplements you may alleviate or even get rid of the flushes. If not consider there is another possible remedy and that is getting rid of sugar completely and at least cutting out refined grains opting instead for whole grains, quinoa, buckwheat, and similar. If it works it will have been worth it and what will you have lost?
Maybe a few kilos, some wrinkles, and a sugar addiction. Oh and the hot flashes of course!