Most hot flashes are not caused by a medical condition but by a normal response to women's hormonal fluctuations. They generally subside after the estrogen levels become more stable a couple of years after menopause. Certain environmental conditions, foods and habits tend to trigger hot flashes. There are medications to help eliminate or lessen the occurrence and severity of hot flashes, but some women are concerned about the potential health risks of chemically produced hormones, and therefore choose to use natural remedies.
Some women find relief from herbal remedies—either alone or in a blend. Black cohosh, dong quai, wild yam root, goldenseal, white willow, sage and white peony are herbs that help cool the body, according to Dr. Susan Lark on the Project Aware website. These herbs can be found in health food stores, drug stores, some grocery stores and discount stores. For the most severe hot flashes, look for a prepackaged blend of these herbs.
Hot flashes aren't as common in Asian countries, according to the Power-Surge website. The reason for this may be that Asian women typically consume soy beans, which contain phytoestrogens (plant estrogens). Eating a diet high in soy and byproducts of soy may help lessen the occurrence of hot flashes and night sweats. Soy nuts, tofu, soy milk and soy supplements can be found in most grocery stores.
Foods and Nutritional Supplements
Since hot flashes cause the loss of vitamins B and C, magnesium, calcium and potassium, adding foods and nutritional supplements with those nutrients may provide some relief. To get these vitamins and minerals from food, eat a diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables and dairy products.
Many women have found that eliminating or limiting white flour, white sugar and alcohol helps reduce the severity and number of hot flashes. Other foods that may trigger hot flashes include hot peppers, caffeine, tomatoes, citrus and saturated fats.
Stay Cool Physically and Emotionally
Try to maintain your environmental temperature at a cool level. Avoid wearing thermal clothing, wool, turtlenecks and polyester. Cotton and natural fabric blends breathe and help wick moisture from the skin. At night, use a thin sheet and leave the blanket at the foot of the bed.
Avoid unnecessary stress. If you have a high stress job or personal life, you may find some relief by practicing yoga, biofeedback and meditation. Regular workouts will also help you deal with stress, which may lessen the occurrences of hot flashes.
- Middle aged woman underneath a black hat. image by Brett Mulcahy from Fotolia.com