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Feeling of sudden, intense heat in the body without any external factor, sweating, flushing, faster heart beat than normal etc are some of the most common symptoms of hot flashes. Other unpleasant symptoms occurring with hot flashes are depression, mood swings, loss of libido, sexual dysfunction, weight gain etc. This affects almost 80% of the women. Hot flashes usually come suddenly and may last for few seconds to several minutes with varied frequency. Frequency of hot flashes depends upon various factors such as lifestyle etc. Various factors triggering them include stress, anxiety, spicy foods, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, hot climate, hot drinks, hyperthyroidism, some medications etc. Metabolic diseases and obesity also increase the chances of hot flashes.
Home Remedies for Hot Flashes
There are various home remedies available which are thought to be helpful in reducing the symptoms and frequency of hot flashes. Although no treatment is guaranteed to treat hot flashes completely, but these home remedies may help to relieve the symptoms to some extent. Home remedies for hot flashes includes variou types of food supplements, vitamin supplements, lifestyle modifications, dietary modifications etc. Let’s see the various options available for it.
1. Phytoestrogen containing Foods
Phytoestrogen is a substance which is found in certain plants and can produce effects like that of estrogen hormone in the body when ingested. They are also known as “dietary estrogens”. Phytoestrogens exert their effect by binding to estrogen receptors in the body. Foods rich in phytoestrogens include soy, red clover, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, oats, beans, barley, apples, carrots, lentils, licorice root, ginseng etc. Although the benefits of phytoestrogens containing foods are inconclusive, but they have various health benefits on cardiovascular health, central nervous system, metabolic as well as reduction of risk of cancer and hot flashes.
2. Lifestyle Modifications
By doing modifications in the lifestyle, women can reduce the symptoms of hot flashes and get relief from it. One should identify the triggering factors and should avoid them. Triggering factor such as warm weather or hot climate, can be avoided by not exposing themselves in the hot weather. One can also spend more time in air conditioned rooms. Avoiding hot beverages, spicy foods also helps. Avoid alcohol as well, as alcohol also is a triggering factor. Reducing stress and anxiety by meditations also helps. Hot flashes are also more common in obese women. So one must maintain the body weight and reduce obesity to get relief from it. Smoking can increase the symptoms of it and also can speed up the onset of menopause. One should avoid smoking in order to live a healthy life.
Drinking cool water frequently and splashing it over the face and hands also helps to cool the body quickly. Maintaining hydration helps to keep the body temperature steady. Taking a cold shower also helps to reduce the body temperature quickly. As stress causes release of epinephrine, which then in turn increases the body temperature and sweating, relaxation exercises such as yoga, meditations etc helps to reduce both stress and symptoms of hot flashes.
3. Dietary Modifications
Eating a healthy diet full of vitamins, proteins, and micronutrients helps in maintaining the hormone levels and thereby helps in reducing the symptoms of hot flashes. Having fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, plenty of liquid etc reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids etc are also helpful. Omega-3 supplements are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that include the longer chain omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), as well as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and are among the most widely consumed supplements for a variety of medical conditions (including cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, depression and other cognitive disorders). Omega-3 fatty acids reduce bad cholesterol, triglycerides, have antithrombotic and anti- inflammatory effects, and improve blood lipid profile. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish or fish oil such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardine etc, various edible seaweed, chia seeds, flax seed, many vegetable oils, nuts etc. Although their efficacy in reducing the symptoms of hot flashes are inconclusive and under research, but they are helpful in many ways. They may assist in the production of neurotransmitters that help the body to maintain the temperature.
4. Black Cohosh
Black cohosh is a herb and its root is used for medicinal purposes. The roots of black cohosh contain several chemicals which effect body’s immune system positively and reduce inflammation. Also, it has effects similar to female hormone estrogen. Black cohosh is not a substitute for estrogen despite of its actions similar to estrogen, as in some parts of body it increases the estrogenic effects whereas in other parts it decreases the estrogenic effects. It can also cause some mild side effects such as cramping, stomach upset etc.
5. Valerian Root and Licorice Root
Valerian is an herb native to Europe and parts of Asia. It is most commonly used for sleep disorders such as inability to sleep. Valerian root is also effective in reducing the severity and frequency of hot flashes in postmenopausal women.
Licorice root or sweet root has many medicinal benefits and also it is used as a sweetener in beverages and candies. It has soothing effects on gastrointestinal problems. Also, it helps to reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes. It also helps to reduce stress. One can use licorice root as liquid extract, tea, powder etc. It has some unwanted side effects so one should not consume excess of it.
Vitamin B complex, E and C may help to reduce the symptoms of menopause and hot flashes. These vitamins have antioxidant properties and they help to improve this condition. One can take vitamin supplements to reduce the duration, frequency and severity of hot flashes. The best option is to include these vitamins containing fruits and vegetables in the diet such as citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, soy etc.
Flaxseeds are loaded with various nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, lignans, dietary fibers etc. This may bring some relief from hot flashes in postmenopausal women. Postmenopausal women can consume flaxseeds daily to get some relief. Ground flaxseeds are easier to digest, so one can consume ground seeds rather than whole. Add powdered flaxseed to favourite cereal or juice and consume it regularly. It also aids in reducing weight, helps in maintaining blood pressure and sugar, all of which are also common in postmenopausal women.
8. Essential Oils
Essential oils such as peppermint oil, lavender oil etc are helpful in reducing hot flashes. Peppermint oil has soothing effects and it also helps in reducing stress and anxiety. These calming and soothing effects of this oil help in reducing the symptoms in postmenopausal women. One can inhale these essential oils daily for relief. Put few drops to a diffuser or clean cloth and inhale. Similarly, lavender oil also reduces stress and induces sleep. It helps in calming and relaxing the body and reduces the hot flashes.
9. Green Tea
Having a cup of green tea daily has a lot of health benefits. As it has natural anti-inflammatory, astringent and antiseptic properties, it helps in various ways. Herbal tea contains catechins, which has strong antioxidant properties. Green tea also helps in regulating the blood flow in the body. Green tea such as peppermint tea helps in relaxing and calming the mind and body. Also, green tea helps in reducing the symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes.
10. Tomato Juice
Tomato is a rich source of lycopene, antioxidants and various micronutrients. It also alleviates stress, fatigue, and anxiety. Consumption of tomato juice regularly also helps to reduce the symptoms of hot flashes.
11. Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera is a rich source of various phytonutrients and phytoestrogen. Consumption of aloe vera juice also helps to maintain the hormonal levels in postmenopausal women and thereby helps in reducing the symptoms of hot flashes. It also helps in reducing weight and has various other health benefits.
Hot flashes are one of the very common problems in elderly and postmenopausal women. Mood swings, loss of libido etc accompanied by sudden and intense feeling of heat occur in this condition. Lifestyle and dietary modifications can help to reduce the symptoms of hot flashes. Other home remedies for this condition include various phytoestrogen containing foods, vitamin rich foods etc.