6 Tips for Managing Hot Flashes
Allison Bush | Oct 3, 2012
Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause, but sometimes they can be persistent and disrupt daily life. Here are some tips for avoiding and dealing with hot flashes.
Using Hormone Therapy
If your hot flashes seem almost unbearable, then it may be worth it to discuss the pros and cons of hormone therapy (HT) with your doctor. Estrogen and progestin are taken in pill form to boost their diminshing presence in the body due to menopause. Although hormone therapy used to be commonly prescribed for menopause symptoms, doctors now know it can have serious risks. You have to decide if the benefits outweigh the risks for you.
Various medications that are often prescribed for other conditions can be used to treat bothersome hot flashes. In small doses, some anti-depressants like Prozac, Pristiq, Effexor, Celexa and Paxil can help with moderate hot flashes. Clonidine, a pill used for hypertension, and ibuprofen are also possible treatments. Keep in mind, anti-depressants can have side effects and ibuprofen should only be taken in the recommended amounts to avoid liver toxicity.
Eating Certain Foods and Supplements
Some foods mitigate the impact of hot flashes, while others can aggravate them and should therefore be avoided. Black cohosh is a plant that is usually used to treat hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. Soy foods, along with certain isoflavones and red clover, help some women thanks to their estrogen-like effect. Vitamin B complex and vitamin E are also sometimes used.
Avoiding Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol can trigger hot flashes. The exact connection between caffeinated beverages, alcohol and hot flashes is not known, but drinking them can increase your risk of having a hot flash. It is a good idea to limit consumption of these drinks, or even avoid them all together. Having a glass of icy cold water, though, can help if you do have a hot flash.
Studies have shown that meditation and yoga can alleviate the severity of hot flashes. By easing stress and anxiety, reaching a state of relaxation and helping with hot flashes, yoga and meditation can be great tools for dealing with menopause.
Hot flashes are quite common in women going through menopause (3 out of 4 women experience them), so the best plan is to just be as prepared as possible for when they happen. Try keeping your bedroom at a cool temperature and wearing layered clothing so you can easily add and remove pieces. You could also keep a small fan nearby in case you feel a hot flash starting to come on.