Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause, and they’re characterized by sudden body heat, flushing, and sweating. Hot Flash is a sudden feeling of heat and sometimes a red, flushed face and sweating. Its cause may be related to changes in circulation.
Hot flashes occur when blood vessels near the skin’s surface widen to cool off, making you break out in a sweat. When hot flash happens while you sleep, they’re called night sweats, and they can wake you up and make it hard to get enough rest.
Hot flashes and night sweats are some of the frustrating things to get relief from. This is because your body basically decided your fate when it mistakenly told your brain you were overheating. While hormones contribute greatly to hot flashes (the reason why they are so common during menopause), other things can cause them as well. They can be experienced as side effects from medications, but stress and even some food and drinks can bring them on.
Other unpleasant symptoms often coincide with hot flashes, including:
- weight gain
- mood swings
- loss of libido
- sexual dysfunction
There’s nothing you can do to avoid hot flashes around menopause, but you can stay away from triggers that may make them more frequent or more severe. Common triggers include:
- Tight clothing
- Spicy foods
- Cigarette smoke
Treatment Options for Hot Flashes
Choices range from medications and herbal supplements to lifestyle changes.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Basically, the most effective treatment for hot flashes has been estrogen supplementation, and it’s often referred to as hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Estrogen may be taken alone or in combination with progesterone.
However, Estrogen isn’t recommended for everyone, especially women with a history of breast cancer, blood clots, or certain other medical conditions. Furthermore, estrogen is believed to increase the risk of future health problems, including heart disease, breast cancer, and blood clots.
Black cohosh is one of the most popular herbs for treating hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. The root of the plant is used in capsules and, less commonly in tea. Although the exact mechanism of black cohosh is under study, researchers believe it binds to estrogen receptors or stimulates serotonin receptors.
Minor side effects reported include stomachache, rash, and reports of liver failure, which is life-threatening, in individuals using black cohosh. Thus, it isn’t recommended for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding or have breast cancer.
Shop Related Products
Plain Ol’ Peppermint Spray
Peppermint is refreshing. It helps cool you almost instantly and the coolness lasts for a while. It’s also, one of the best, most immediate, forms of relief from a hot flash.
You will need…
- 6 tablespoons of witch hazel
- 1-6 drops peppermint oil
- 1 tablespoon of grapeseed (or another neutral oil)
- Aloe (optional)
- First, always shake well before using
- Also, start with only a drop or two of peppermint at a time and test your tolerance.
- Put the oils and witch hazel in a mister bottle (Ideally one that is dark glass and has the spritzer top to it)
- Shake well and store in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
- Apply as needed, and for maximum effect, have a fan going.
- Shake before every use.
Note: If you find the spray drying to your skin, apply some high quality, natural aloe after using it.
Eucalyptus Cold Compress
Eucalyptus provides similar benefits to peppermint, but on a lesser scale, and with much less intensity. Thus, if you’re sensitive to the strong smell of peppermint, eucalyptus is a great option (and can be used as a substitute in the recipe above).
You will need…
- A medium sized bowl
- 2 tablespoons of grapeseed or any other neutral oil
- 1-4 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
- A clean towel about dishcloth sized
- Mix your oils together well and pour them into your bowl.
- Toss in a generous amount of ice, and top it off with cold water.
- Let it chill for a good 3-5 minutes then soak the towel in the water make sure to really swirl it around to churn up the essential oils.
- Wring it out and place it across your forehead, the back of your neck, on your chest or really any place that you feel needs it most.