One of the most common symptoms of menopause is hot flashes. It is estimated that between 50 and 85% of women will experience them at some point during perimenopause and menopause.
What are hot flashes?
A hot flash occurs when blood vessels expand allowing more blood into a specific area, usually the head and neck, causing heat and redness.
Unfortunately, medical science doesn’t fully understand the cause of hot flashes other than it is in response to changing hormone levels. Mainstream medical doctors tend to believe that a hot flash is due to the change of estrogen levels, generally dropping. But any sort of fluctuating estrogen level can cause a hot flash.
Some of the known causes of hot flashes are:
Estrogen levels out of balance
Progesterone levels out of balance
Low vitamin or mineral levels
Your Hot Flash Signs
A doctor may not be able to give you a clear explanation for your hot flashes, medical tests can only provide so much information. Start tracking your daily habits and body signals to help you determine what your triggers may be. This is a great opportunity to use your daily journal. If you have been tracking your daily food intake you could make a note if you experienced any hot flashes or night sweats. This information can be a great guide for determining your trigger.
There are several food items that women have reported as being triggers:
Hot or spicy food
Hot beverages – consider allowing drinks to cool to room temperature.
While you can’t control the weather, it can play into hot flashes so try to stay in a cool environment during the hottest part of the day. Also, hot tubs and saunas will cause your body temperature to rise and can trigger a hot flash.
Emotional Triggers for Hot Flashes
In the United States we are often not taught to trust our body signals. We have also had a life of commercials promoting unhealthy diet choices, so we often don’t understand our body signals.
If we have had an unhealthy diet and not paid attention to our body as our hormone levels start changing our body starts “screaming” for attention. Hot flashes are just one of the symptoms we may experience.
Menopause is a time for us to celebrate our life and truly start taking care of ourselves. It is a great opportunity to embrace life.
If we are carrying a lot of stress this will cause a hormonal chain reaction leading to hot flashes. Anger is another emotion that can have an impact on the number and severity of hot flashes. It is vital that we take the time to address our emotional health as well as our physical health to ensure we feel our best.
Natural Options to Reduce Hot Flashes
There are several options that you can consider for addressing hot flashes. Before trying some of them work with your doctor or natural health practitioner to determine what your hormone levels are.
Make sure you are addressing your emotional health. Are you feeling overly stressed or angry? Consider utilizing a journal, meditation, or other relaxation techniques to help you combat these concerns.
Improve your diet. In Ideal Weights there are several suggestions for foods that can address a variety of nutritional deficiencies.
Consider herbal therapies, make sure you understand the potential risks and interactions with medications (talk to your doctor). Some herbs that have been shown to be effective for hot flashes include:
Depending on your hormone tests there are bioidentical estrogen replacements and progesterone creams. It is important to discuss this with your medical practitioner before moving forward with them.
All of us our growing older and each of us will experience these times differently. Taking time to learn about your body can empower you to have a great life after menopause. Knowledge is really the key to living your ideal life each and every day.