Hot flashes are caused by sudden estrogen level drops, as well as sustained low levels of estrogen. A hot flash feels exactly as it sounds – a sudden wave of warmth that is experienced for approximately 60-90 seconds. While difficult to prevent altogether, some approaches may help lessen the severity or frequency of hot flashes.
1. Take note of your diet. No surprise here, but it’s important to avoid spicy foods that can make hot flashes worse. While everyone has different triggers, some women have reported that drinks like coffee and alcohol increase the intensity of their hot flashes. Some research also suggests that foods that cause a spike in blood sugar can increase hot flashes. It’s recommended to avoid processed foods like sugary beverages, fast food, and fried goods. Studies have also found that opting for a diet rich in fruit, veggies, and whole grains can help reduce hot flashes.
2. Go high-tech. These days there’s no shortage of new products popping up every day to help manage the symptoms of menopause. While they can’t prevent hot flashes, they can help to provide some relief. In the category of wearables, there are innovative products like freezable cooling jewelry that’s disguised as a stylish pearl necklace so you don’t have to sacrifice style and comfort. Other wearables include a sleek and discreet thermal wristband that sends a mix of heating and cooling waves to help your body self-regulate its temperature. As the category of fem-tech continues to boom, we’re excited to see what other advancements pop up in this space.
3. Practice meditation. Sure you’ve heard the saying mind over matter, but can it really work? Multiple studies have found that mindfulness may help hot flashes associated with menopause by activating the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for calming your body. Plus, anxiety is shown to lead to a rise in body temperature. Try incorporating meditation into your daily routine for just 10 minutes a day. There are many self-guided meditations available online through resources like the North American Menopause Society, and more.
4. Pick the right fabrics. Night sweats, or hot flashes that occur when you’re asleep, can be incredibly disruptive. You can set yourself up for a better night’s sleep by investing in the right pajamas made of breathable fabrics like cotton and linen. You can also swap in sheets and pillows made with special cooling materials and fabrics like microfiber, linen, and bamboo.
5. Explore hormone replacement therapy. While lifestyle modifications may help certain women lessen the effects of hot flashes, others may require medical treatment. New approaches like bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can help balance the levels of key hormones including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. BHRT utilizes a plant-based hormone similar to what our body naturally produces when we are younger to help restore hormones to their natural levels. As a result, many women see improvements in hot flashes as well as other symptoms of menopause like vaginal dryness, sleeplessness, fatigue, weight gain, and mood changes.
Menopause doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying aspects of your life! If you can’t find relief for your menopausal symptoms, don’t wait any longer. Talk to your Axia Women’s Health provider to learn about the variety of treatment options available.
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