Are Hot Flashes Heating You Up? Here Are Some Ways To Cool Down
Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause, but they affect everyone differently. Some women never experience hot flashes. Others have them occasionally, and some unlucky women have them several times each day. If you're one of the unlucky ones, there are a few different ways you can manage your condition. Here are some things you can try.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
If you have frequent hot flashes, you should let your gynecologist know, so you can find at least partial relief. Hot flashes are not only annoying, they can severely disrupt your sleep. Since hot flashes can last for many months or years, you could end up with a serious case of insomnia that puts your health at risk.
One type of treatment for hot flashes is hormone replacement therapy with estrogen and progesterone. Since this therapy might cause an increased risk of cancer or heart disease, you need to weigh the benefit against the risks. Your gynecologist will likely give you the lowest dose needed for the shortest time possible. Besides eliminating hot flashes and night sweats, hormone replacement therapy can also protect your bones from osteoporosis, and help with vaginal dryness caused by menopause.
Since hot flashes often happen at night, try sleeping in a very cool bedroom. When you feel a hot flash coming on, you can throw back the covers and cool off in a hurry. You might even point a fan towards your bed, and alternate putting the covers on and off to keep comfortable.
When your hot flashes are frequent, you'll often notice a pattern of when they occur. Try to find out what triggers yours, so you can avoid whatever it is that causes them. It might be strenuous exercise, stress, or even spicy foods. You can also try dressing in layers, so you stay comfortable when you're at work, and when a hot flash strikes, you can peel off a sweater or jacket to cool down.
Herbs For Hot Flashes
There are herbal products marketed to women to help ease the symptoms of menopause, but you may have to try different things until you find something that works for you. Remember that herbs are not necessarily safe just because they are natural products. You should ask your gynecologist, like those at Central Iowa OB/Gyn Specialists, PLC, or pharmacist if a particular herb will interact negatively with medications you take. Some herbs and foods you may want to try include pycnogenol, black cohosh, flaxseed, and soy in the form of tofu.
If your hot flashes are particularly bothersome, you may want to try relaxation techniques, yoga, or meditation. These practices can help you deal with the stress caused by lack of sleep and the disruptions to your day caused by hot flashes that strike out of the blue.