Drip, drip, drip…no it’s not the coffee maker, it’s a hot flash. You can read more about the ‘what’ as in ‘what the heck is going on with your body?’ in another one of our posts but here we’d like to give you more hot flash remedies and solutions than just a box of tissues. There are real solutions out there. Below are short blurbs about solutions but if you look further into our site, you will find much more information about each of them.
Some Natural Solutions For Your Hot Flashes
- Paced Breathing
- Phytoestrogen-Rich Herbs
- Krill and Fish Oil
- Traditional Chinese Medicine – Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs
- Lifestyle Changes
- Tips and Tricks For Staying Cool
Breathe Deeply, Meditate
One of the most effective solutions for hot flashes is paced breathing. With a slow, measured breathing technique, you can reduce the severity of a hot flash or even cut it off before it happens. (Take that, you sucker!) It takes committed practice to develop your concentration enough to be able to respond when a flash hits, but this technique really works for menopausal symptoms, especially hot flashes.
A clear and easy-to-understand article about this can be read at The New York Times. They call this technique “paced breathing” — I’d call it meditation. This research has shown that it can reduce the frequency of hot flashes by almost 50%.
One way to know that you are breathing correctly is to use biofeedback. As you reach a meditative state, your heart rate goes down. Biofeedback allows you monitor your heart rate as it lowers or raises. You can read this great personal testimony to the effectiveness of biofeedback by Pulitzer Prize winner, Katherine Ellison. The EmWave2 is a well reviewed personal biofeedback machine.
Phytoestrogen-rich herbs contain a compound similar to estrogen found naturally in women. They are thought to balance a menopausal woman’s hormones — less hot flashes, less moodiness, less ups and downs.
First-hand testimonies from women seem to indicate that the herbal remedy Black Cohosh gives relief for hot flashes. A large Black Cohosh research project is being conducted by The National Center for Complementary Alternative Medicine (part of the National Institutes of Health). American Indians have used Black Cohosh for hot flashes for centuries. Stephen Foster, Writer, has a nifty and extensive description of Black Cohosh in his article titled Black Cohosh: A Literature Review. But Black Cohosh has had mixed results, working for some but not for others. And you do need to be careful, as it can act as a blood thinner and there are some (unproven) worries about its impact on the liver. Again, check with your doctor before taking any herbal supplement and never take more than is prescribed.
An historical natural alternative to HRT and a remedy especially for hot flashes and night sweats, it also lowers cholesterol and prevents osteoporosis. A great source of calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, thiamine and vitamin C. Read more about red clover here.
Another phytoestrogenic herb, the Dandelion contains vitamins A, B complex, C and D along with iron, potassium and zinc. It cleans the blood and liver which is thought to balance hormones. Also good for liver and gallbladder problems, is a natural diuretic and an appetite stimulant.
Fish or Krill Oil has had mixed results in research, some say it helps while others say it is inconclusive. I have heard of many women getting relief from taking fish oil. It’s also very good for many other aging-related aches and pains. It acts as an anti-inflammatory so it’s great for arthritis, too! I gave some to my old dog everyday and her coat got really shiny. And no stinky breath. We like Nature’s Way Krill Oil. To read more about Krill Oil, go to our post titled Krill Oil for Hot Flashes.
Acupuncture, Herbs and Traditional Chinese Medicine
Just the idea of having needles stuck into your body might make you sweat or they might scare the hot flashes right out of you. But there are a lot of people who swear by Chinese medicine and acupuncture as hot flash remedies.
You can read about recent research studying the effectiveness of acupuncture for relief of menopausal symptoms, especially hot flashes.
Tips And Tricks For Staying Cool
- Wear layers
- Wear natural fabrics
- Carry portable and hand-held fans
- Meditate – it is proven to help with hot flashes
- No plush-top mattresses
- Use low thread count, 100% cotton sheets
- Always keep a glass and pitcher of water next to your bed at night
- Try to stay away from red wine, sugar, processed foods, chocolate…
- Exercise, garden, dance….whatever. Just get moving!
- We have been getting reports from readers that ibuprofen gives them hot flashes
Wear Layers, Use Natural Fabrics
Wear layers of clothing so you can peel them off and put them back on, depending on your body temperature. You may want to enroll in a pole dancing class to take advantage of those less-dressed moments. If you want to tear your clothes off anyway, might as well multi-task.
Use Fans and Give In to that Air Conditioner
Use fans and air conditioners. (A larger choice of fans to chose from at the end of the post.) I have what I call my “menopause room” — a room with an air conditioner. Its a life saver, and on hot days I’ve had five people lounging on my bed enjoying the coolness with me. There’s a real positive outcome to hot flashes — family gatherings!
Carry a fan wherever you go. Invest in a beautiful hand fan. You will be very obvious when using your fan, so play it up. Accessorize.
Personally, I love cement. If you lie down on it while you are having a hot flash, it absorbs the heat away from your body, cutting down the severity of the flash and giving instant relief. When you get up, you’ll leave behind a sweat-angel print. Menopause art!
Don’t Use Thick Plush-Top Beds
Try to avoid ‘plush-top’ beds, or beds with that big cushy layer on top of the mattress. I know from personal experience that the less cushioning in a bed, the cooler I feel.
Use Cotton Sheets With a Low Thread Count
Sleeping in polyester sheets is like wrapping yourself in a plastic ziplock bag and expecting to get a good night rest. So always use a natural fabric – especially cotton or bamboo sheets. A reader from the Virgin Islands gave us this tip of using a low thread count. The sheets breath really well and allow your heat to escape.
Cool your Core – Drink Water or Use Cooling Products
It does seem simple, yet drinking cool water will cut that hot flash down to size. And water does double duty to reduce face wrinkles!
One of the best items around is the Cold Front Personal Cooling System which are little ice packs that you carry around with you and stay cold for up to 12 hours. There are cooling vests and bandanas, body sprays that work all day, or stylish jewelry – yes, Hot Girls Pearls work great!
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Most women have heard of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and usually jump at the thought that they can use drugs to get through this fun & interesting time of life. But HRT is a controversial solution to hot flashes and may not help every woman. Although recent studies questioned the research that indicated HRT increased the rate of cancer, no one knows for sure. You have to decide for yourself by comparing the risks of taking HRT to enjoying a higher quality of life. HRT can be a great cure all but one thing most docs don’t tell you that if and when you stop using them, you are right back where you started and the hot flashes, etc. all kick in again. Speak with your health care professional about all of this.
The Department of Pathology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine researched estradiol (a naturally produced hormone in women) treatments to help control hot flashes. Read their paper here. (OMG — it’s a study based on rats — but if it works on us…) It is an extract from pregnant horse urine which can cause allergies (can make your eyes itch) so keep your riding habit on!
If your doctor offers you an antidepressant for your hot flashes, don’t jump to the conclusion that he is accusing you of losing your mind, even if you feel like you are. Women taking anti-depressants have noticed a large decrease in the number and intensity of their flashes. And if they make you happy along the way, well why not!
Gabapentin For Hot Flashes
Gabapentin (Neurontin), an anti-seizure medication also used for restless leg syndrome, has shown some promise in reducing hot flashes. (4/27/13 Note: The FDA has turned this drug down as a solution for hot flashes. Apparently the drug didn’t do any better than those women taking the placebo, so why bother?)
Ibuprofen And Other Anti-inflamatories May Cause Hot Flashes
There is mounting evidence that Ibuprofen may cause hot flashes. You might want to stay away from it…
No Red Wine, Sugar, Processed Foods, Chocolate….
Here comes the worst part — not eating what you want. Drink cold beverages. Avoid hot drinks and spicy foods. No red meat, no white flour, no coffee, or sugar, or processed food, or chocolate (NOOOOOoooo!). And red wine is really bad — switch to white, or just take a shot of tequila now and then. Although, we don’t condone excessive alcohol use and zero if you are a recovering alcoholic, these things have helped us at least keep our sense of humor through it all.
And of course, quit watching Survivor, get off the couch and start walking. Exercise really does boost your metabolism and your spirits. And obviously, laugh, laugh, laugh! It helps in all ways menopausal.
How are you coping with your hot flashes?
Do you have any suggestions, ideas or solutions we could pass on to our readers? We would love to hear what techniques work for you.