Hot flashes are a common problem for women as they move through menopause. Hot flashes are sudden, brief sensations of heat in the face, neck and chest area, generally associated with menopause, or the ceasing of the menstrual cycle.
The heat is caused by a short dilation of the blood vessels that causes a wave of heat usually in the chest and head regions of the body. Hot flashes are an uncomfortable side effect of hormone imbalance, usually associated with changes in estrogen levels or the ratio between the levels of estrogen and progesterone in women.
Hot flashes can be more intense in women that have experienced chemotherapy, radiation or surgical removal of their ovaries. This is because the ovaries are the main producers of estrogens and progesterone in women.
When strong medical treatments damage their ability to produce hormone normal hormone levels the imbalance is felt in the body immediately and dramatically.
Hot flashes are made worse by emotional stress, high temperatures, some medications, or other medical conditions. Hot flashes can also be worse due to behavioral factors such as poor diet, stressful lifestyle and obesity.
Let's look at what you can do to reduce and eliminate hot flashes once and for all.
Stay Cool and Get Sleep
High temperatures tend to increase hot flashes so grab a fan or turn on the air conditioner to keep cool. Also note that sleeping in cooler temperatures promotes better sleep as well. Each person is different, but generally 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit is the comfort range . Improper sleep patterns can cause hormonal imbalances as well.
Plant-based diets increase the phytonutrients in the diet. Plant-based food containing isoflavones, like soy, can be helpful. Eating a mostly plant-based diet also tends to reduce any extra weight. The fiber helps to bind to extra estrogens and draw them out of the body, which can help balance hormones.
Poor diets include the standard American diet of highly processed foods, fast food, high sugar, high meat, low vegetable diets which tend to increase hot flashes.
Stressful lifestyles could include stress at work, stress in your personal relationship, stress in your home environment, financial stressors or physical stressors. The constant challenges of everyday life affects the adrenal glands and female hormones.
Stress reduction and sometime additional adrenal support can reduce hot flashes as well. Consider adaptogenic herbs like licorice to support the adrenal glands. When my patients focus on these they often reduce and sometimes eliminate hot flashes.