Hot flashes -- sudden and temporary bursts of heat, flushing, and/or sweating, are a common symptom of menopause. Whether menopause occurs naturally or is induced, hot flashes affect nearly all women. The duration and severity of hot flashes vary with each individual woman and while the actual cause of hot flashes is both unknown and seemingly unavoidable, there are ways to reduce hot flashes.
Certain things are believed to trigger hot flashes. The reduction, avoidance, or elimination of these triggers can reduce hot flashes or at the least, lessen their severity. Caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods are all substances that can trigger hot flashes. Avoiding or drastically reducing the consumption of these substances can help reduce hot flashes. Other ways to reduce episodes include reducing stress, avoiding tight-fitting clothing, getting regular exercise and keeping your home cooler, especially while sleeping.
In the event that a woman can not reduce hot flashes or they become bothersome or interfere with day to day activities, a doctor may prescribe short-term hormone therapy, such as estrogen replacement, or other prescription medications. Many women find that hormone therapy will reduce these episodes and some find it eliminates them all together. Still other women find that hormone therapy creates new symptoms and complications that make it uncomfortable or impossible to continue taking hormones. Talk to your doctor about prescription treatments designed to reduce the number of hot flashes.
There are also over-the-counter options. Vitamin B complex and Vitamin E may help reduce hot flashes as well as other signs of menopause. Ibuprofen, which is an anti-inflammatory, may also help reduce menopause symptoms. Soy foods and flaxseed are natural products believed to reduce hot flashes, but there is no scientific evidence supporting this. Before beginning any herbal or vitamin supplement or non-prescription drug therapy, talk to your doctor about your symptoms and make sure vitamins and non-prescription drugs do not interact with any other current medications.
Hot flashes are a common sign of menopause and though the severity, frequency, and duration vary for each woman, they are most likely attributed to hormonal changes. Though hot flashes are unavoidable for most women, taking measures to reduce their frequency can make you more comfortable. Talk to your doctor or health care provider for additional suggestions.