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Caffeine & Hot Flashes

By Dorie Khan ; Updated August 14, 2017

When going through menopause, many women experience hot flashes. They can come without warning or be triggered by a stress-related circumstance or food. No one knows for sure what happens physiologically when you get a hot flash, but some say it probably starts with increased blood flow in the heat regulatory part of the brain. There are a number of triggers that can cause this to happen, and caffeine is one of them.

Sources

Hot coffee is the most problematic source of hot flashes because you are dealing with two triggers, a hot beverage and caffeine. If you're a heavy coffee drinker, it's best to cut back or stop drinking coffee completely. Sodas with caffeine should be avoided too. Drink decaffeinated coffee and soda instead. Or drink juice for a nutritious, caffeine-free pick-me-up.

Considerations

If you need a caffeine boost, try green tea. It will lower your caffeine intake and in turn affect the frequency of your power surges. Green tea also has healthful antioxidants and fat burning benefits.

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Causes

When there is an absence or shortage of estrogen in your body, there may be a lower tolerance for changes in your body's core temperature. When your body's temperature rises, as it does with caffeine, your blood vessels might be triggered to dilate quicker than they would have before. The hot flash will last as long as it takes to dissipate the increased heat.

Other Triggers

There are a few other foods and drinks you should try to avoid. Alcohol is a trigger. Wine is the most troublesome. Foods that are seasoned with cayenne pepper will also cause a problem, as will drinking hot liquids. Smoking is not good for you either. It is not only unhealthy, but it can cause hot flashes too.

Prevention

There are a few lifestyle changes you can make so "the change" will be less sweaty. Dress in layers so that your body temperature stays cool. To avoid night sweats, turn your thermostat down about two or three degrees before going to bed.

Incorporate exercise and soy products into your routine. There are herbal supplements on the market that will help. Everyone's body is different so you may have to try a few to see what works. Visit your local health food or vitamin store for advice.

If you feel a hot flash coming on, stay calm. Take deep breaths and use a fan to cool your body before it gets out of control.

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