Hot Flashes | Symptoms | Causes | Treatment | Natural | Supplements
The first and most common symptoms of menopause are hot flashes and night sweats.
In this article, you will learn everything about hot flashes and how to relieve them without hormone therapy.
What Are Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes are sudden feelings of warmth on the chest, neck, or face, usually immediately followed by a sweat (Lugo et al. 20221; Bansal et al. 20192).
Hot flashes often occur at night. They are among the vasomotor symptoms of menopause in women.
These are the most common symptoms due to changes in blood vessels during menopause (Peacock et al. 20223).
Accordingly, hot flashes are the most common reason women go to the doctor during perimenopause. However, vasomotor symptoms can also significantly affect a woman’s quality of life after menopause (Lugo et al. 20224).
Symptoms of Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are regularly accompanied by the following symptoms (Bansal et al. 20195; Lugo et al. 20226):
- Feeling hot
Duration of Hot Flashes
A hot flash usually lasts 1-5 minutes and occurs up to 10 times daily or several times weekly.
Frequency and intensity may increase during menopause, peaking about a year after the last menstrual period. After that, the severity decreases. However, hot flashes can still last for several years.
The average duration of hot flashes is 1.2 years (Politi et al. 20087).
Causes of Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are based on a thermoregulatory control defect in the brain. As a result, a vasodilatory response causes slight increases in body temperature (Bansal et al. 20198).
Several neurotransmitters are involved in causing vasomotor symptoms. In addition to estrogen, norepinephrine and serotonin play a significant role.
Estrogen deficiency in the ovaries is usually the first mechanism that triggers hot flashes (Rapkin et al. 20079).
Hot Flash Triggers
Common acute triggers of hot flashes include (Lugo et al. 202210; Bansal et al. 201911):
- Warm environments
- Hot drinks
- Emotional stress
Treatment of Hot Flashes
Although there are many treatment options, only a few are approved.
Because the safety of hormone replacement therapies is controversial, there is agreement that they should be prescribed only at the lowest effective dose and for the shortest effective period.
Healthcare providers are encouraged to prescribe lifestyle changes first, as these alternatives are safer than hormonal treatments with estrogen (Lugo et al. 202212).
Natural Alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy
Because hormone therapies promote breast cancer, embolism, and stroke, they are usually discouraged (Rossouw et al. 200213).
Fortunately, lifestyle interventions can help relieve hot flashes naturally without these dangers.
Yoga is rightly considered an effective treatment for menopausal symptoms.
Studies show that yoga can improve vasomotor, psychosocial, and physical symptoms of menopause.
According to researchers, one-year yoga practice is one of the preferred non-hormonal, lifestyle-modifying interventions for improving the quality of life of menopausal women (Swain et al. 202114).
Another study agrees with this conclusion: Yoga therapy can reduce hot flashes and night sweats.
Researchers go even further, claiming that even short-term yoga practice can reduce psychological and physical risk factors for cardiovascular disease (Vaze et al. 201015).
Quality sleep is essential in treating hot flashes (Triantafillou et al. 201916; Freeman et al. 201517).
Women whose hormones are out of balance wake up more often. Improving sleep hygiene can help reduce hot flashes and night sweats.
One natural way to relieve hot flashes through better sleep hygiene is intermittent fasting.
In an intermittent fasting study conducted on 14 women, participants saw significant improvements in sleep patterns after just one week (Michalsen et al. 200318):
- Reduced awakening
- Less leg movement
- Longer REM sleep
- Improved sleep quality
- Increased energy level
- Improved concentration
- Emotional balance
Improved sleep also positively affects other psychological symptoms of menopause, such as mood swings (Triantafillou et al. 201919).
Various plants contain active ingredients that are similar in structure to estrogen.
These phytoestrogens have a unique effect (Hwang et al. 200621; Poluzzi et al. 201422):
- At low estrogen levels (primarily postmenopause), they act similarly to estrogen
- At high estrogen levels (mainly reproductive years), they can exert antiestrogenic effects
In short, polyphenols in natural foods can help regulate estrogen levels. Since hot flashes are due to a lack of estrogen, phytoestrogen-rich foods can help relieve them.
You can learn which outstanding foods boost estrogen naturally in my dedicated article.
Coffee and green tea contain small amounts of phytoestrogens (Kuhnle et al. 200822).
Alternative medicine, on the other hand, knows more effective herbs that can help with vasomotor symptoms as natural tea:
- Red Clover Tea: this plant is rich in phytoestrogens. Therefore, its tea can help if estrogen levels are low (Beck et al. 200523).
- Dong Quai Tea: Dong Quai has been used in China for centuries to reduce hot flashes and relieve other symptoms of PMS and menopause (Kelley et al. 201024).
- Chasteberry Tea: Studies suggest that chaste tree berries may help relieve breast pain and increase libido in menopausal women (Carmichael 200825; Heirati et al. 202126).
- Valerian Root Tea: Researchers suggest health professionals consider valerian as an effective remedy for menopausal women suffering from hot flashes (Jenabi et al. 201827).
- Ginkgo Biloba Tea: According to researchers, ginkgo provides a natural alternative to hormone replacement therapies for post-menopausal women (Oh et al. 200428).
Best Supplements to Reduce Hot Flashes
Regular readers of my blog know that I always prefer natural foods to optional supplements.
However, especially with menopausal symptoms, many women want additional help. Therefore, here are what I consider to be the best supplements on the market that can help with hot flashes.
All products are based on the previous herbs. Therefore, they come without hormones and unnecessary additives:
Get: Organic Red Clover Capsules
Get: Organic Valerian Root Capsules
Get: Organic Fenugreek Capsules
Get: Chasteberry Extract
Get: Angelica Capsules
Lifestyle changes can help with hot flashes better than many medications and supplements.
Rethink diet and sleep habits and try intermittent fasting and yoga before resorting to synthetic remedies. With this in mind, smoking is another lifestyle factor that promotes hot flashes and night sweats.
Here is an effortless way to revolutionize your lifestyle today without popping harmful pills: Try my FREE 30-Day Intermittent Fasting Challenge!
Hot Flashes FAQ
What does a hot flash feel like?
Hot flashes are a sudden warmth on the chest, neck, or face, often followed by sweat.
Are hot flashes a symptom of anything?
Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause and low estrogen levels.
What helps hot flashes go away?
Yoga, phytoestrogens, specific herbs, and focus on quality sleep can help with hot flashes.
What can cause hot flashes other than menopause?
Besides menopause, stress, excessive exercise, diseases and injuries can cause hot flashes.
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