Hot flashes are intense feelings of warmth caused by an increase in body temperature. They are the most common and prevalent symptom of menopause, which is the stage of a woman’s life when she stops having menstrual cycles. Hot flash symptoms include a sudden feeling of warmth and heat spreading throughout the body, an increased heartbeat, tingling in your extremities, and visible perspiration. One’s skin also reddens and appears blushed or blotchy. The warm feeling and redness are usually most intense on the face, neck, and chest. As the hot flash concludes, you will feel a noticeable chill or shiver throughout your body. Hot flashes that take place at night are often called “night sweats.”

Hot flashes usually come suddenly and without warning, and more than 75% of women experience them at some point in their lives. Some last for a few seconds, but others can last as long as ten minutes. However, the average hot flash lasts for about four minutes. Some women have hot flashes for a short time period, but symptoms can persist for up to 11 years in extreme cases. On average, women get hot flashes for around seven years of their life. While hot flashes are not preventable entirely, there are several ways to decrease their impact. There are lifestyle changes and medical treatments for menopausal women, to make living with hot flashes easier. Don’t let an unexpected hot flash ruin your day. Read below to learn more about living and dealing with hot flashes.

Hormone Therapy

Many women undergo hormone therapy to treat their menopause symptoms. Hormone therapy involves taking medications containing female hormones that the body ceases to produce during menopause. The main hormone taken during therapy is estrogen, but progesterone must be taken by those who have not had hysterectomies, to protect against uterine cancer. The medications are taken using a pill, cream, gel, or patch. In addition to minimizing hot flash symptoms, hormone therapy can also prevent bone loss for menopausal women. Hormones are very powerful and can sometimes affect mood and mental health, so if you feel like you would benefit from teletherapy during menopause, it’s worth considering reaching out for help online.

You must consult with a doctor to see if hormone therapy is right for you. Certain factors such as age, medical history, and hormone dosage can lead to health problems and complications with hormone therapy. If hormone therapy is not an option for you, don’t worry! There are other ways to manage your hot flashes.

Essential Oils

Essential oils can also be used to manage hot flash symptoms. Essential oils and herbs are another way to treat or prevent hot flashes. Black cohosh, red clover, dong quai, soy, and other substances can be used to help with hot flash symptoms. As is the case with all medicines, essential oils, or herbs, consult with a doctor before use. They will use their professional medical judgment and opinion to decide the best course of action for managing your hot flashes.

Lifestyle Changes

There are also positive lifestyle changes you can make to not only combat hot flashes, but live a healthier and better life in general. For example, hot or spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol can trigger hot flashes, so enjoy them in moderation or cut them from your diet entirely. Drinking plenty of water also limits hot flash symptoms, and a small amount of cold water before bed has been shown to reduce night sweats. Cigarette smoke also worsens hot flashes, so quit smoking and do not start. You should also avoid secondhand smoke when possible.

Yoga, tai chi, and meditation have also been shown to help with menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. All of these activities utilize relaxation breathing to calm the body and relieve stress, which can trigger hot flashes.

Keep Your Home Cool

Since hot flashes are caused by increases in body temperature, staying cool prevents them. One way to keep your body temperature down is by keeping your home’s temperature down. There are many efficient and easy air conditioner options to keep your home cool, such as window air conditioners and ductless mini splits.

Ductless mini splits are increasing in popularity for United States homeowners, and for good reason. They do not require ductwork, which means their installation and maintenance process is very simple. Their lack of ductwork also leads to increased efficiency, as air escapes from ducts as it travels from its point of origin to the indoor unit where it is dispersed throughout your home. Therefore, ductless mini splits decrease your energy bill. They also possess both heating and cooling capabilities.

With a ductless mini split in your home, you can keep the temperature low and keep your hot flash symptoms at bay. There are other non-HVAC ways to keep your home cool. Awnings, blinds, curtains, and ceiling fans all work wonders in lowering the temperature and keeping you comfortable.

Wear Layers and Proper Clothing

When dealing with hot flashes, you must dress accordingly and wear layers. Since hot flashes come on suddenly, wearing layers allows you to peel off articles of clothing to lower your body temperature. You can also wear lighter, breathable fabrics to keep your body temperature down. For those suffering from night sweats, sleeping in lighter clothing will minimize the impact of said night sweats.

Even though hot flashes are not completely preventable, using these techniques and tips keeps them at bay. Hot flashes don’t have to ruin your life like buying the most expensive boat or buying a book that you don’t read does, so don’t let them!

Maya Singh

Maya Singh is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University with a Master’s in Public Health who has been a prominent figure in health education and wellness advocacy for over 20 years. Her previous roles include public health researcher and wellness coach. She has provided insights into healthy living, disease prevention, and healthcare policies. Her background includes practicing in community health centers and lecturing at medical schools. She enjoys trail running and volunteering in health awareness programs in her leisure time. She is also a certified yoga instructor who passionately advocates holistic health approaches.

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