Natural Ways to Treat Menopausal Hot Flushes
Hot flushes are one of the menopause symptoms a lot of people know of. In fact, images of women looking red, flushed and sweaty are almost synonymous with menopause, but do you know exactly what causes hot flushes, where they come from and how to relieve yourself from them?
Yes, that’s right, you don’t have to put up with hot flushes - there are steps you can take to lessen their effects, so you can continue to feel comfortable and confident throughout menopause. But first, it helps to understand what a hot flush feels like, so you can be sure you know what you’re dealing with.
What Does A Hot Flush Feel Like?
Hot flushes can come out of nowhere. One minute, you can be going about your business as normal; the next, you can be dripping with sweat, bright red in the face, feeling unbearably hot and needing to take off layers of your clothing as quickly as possible - all typical hot flush symptoms.
This can leave you feeling flustered and anxious, especially if it happens in the middle of an important meeting, while you’re driving or as you’re trying to enjoy a social occasion. As a result, some women experience heart palpitations at the same time as their hot flushes. If that happens to you, you could find yourself panicking more, making your hot flush worse.
Hot flushes can feel embarrassing, but you’re unlikely to be the only woman at a social occasion suffering in silence - it is thought that around 75% of women experience this menopausal symptom.
So, why are hot flushes so common at this stage of a woman’s life?
What Causes Hot Flushes? The Science
The drop in oestrogen that can make you feel moody, tired and irritable during menopause is behind your hot flushes too. Changes in your hormone levels can have a significant effect on your brain function, and that’s where your body’s temperature is controlled.
The hypothalamus in your brain acts like your body’s own thermostat, regulating temperature, with help from your hormones. So, when menopause comes along, and your oestrogen levels decline dramatically, the hypothalamus cannot function in the same way that it used to, which is where those sudden spikes in temperature and hot flushes come from.
During a hot flush, the blood vessels in your head, face, neck and chest can widen, causing you to feel unusually hot, even if you’re not in a particularly warm environment.
External factors can trigger hot flushes too, such as the clothes you wear, your stress levels (which can also be hard to control during menopause without extra help), and the consumption of alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods.
Natural Remedies for Hot Flushes
Finding help with hot flushes isn’t difficult, if you know where to look.
There are steps you can take to change your routine and lifestyle to try to keep yourself as cool as possible, but you can also try remedies such as menopause supplements for a little extra help.
There is evidence showing that cutting down on caffeine and alcohol consumption can help to reduce the effects of hot flushes, as can stopping smoking.
You can also try to wear looser, cooler clothing, sleep with thin sheets on your bed rather than a duvet, avoid spicy food and opt for lukewarm baths and showers instead of ones that are too hot.
However, some women need more help to manage hot flushes; hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one option, while natural menopause supplements are also available.