Remedies for Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are a common indication of hormonal changes associated with menopause and perimenopause. These changes in hormones cause a temporary spike in body temperature which can translate into feelings of heat rising up through the body and into the face as well as feelings of intense discomfort, overheated, redness in the face, and excessive perspiration. Hot flashes can occur at any time of day/night and are a major pain for many women. With proper nourishment, movement, and consistent nurturing, many symptoms can be relieved & permanently reversed.
To better understand hot flashes, lets touch on the changes that occur during menopause and perimenopause, and the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Perimenopause is the period when a woman’s body is preparing for menopause. Hormone production begins to slow down which can sometimes cause symptoms such as:
anxiety, dry skin, fatigue, feelings of bloating, insomnia, irritability, decreased interest in sex, loss of concentration, mood swings, night sweats, reduced stamina, urinary incompetence, vaginal dryness and itching, weight gain, cold hands and feet, joint pain, hair loss, and skin changes
Menopause marks the end of menstruation, ovulation and the end of fertility. Women will no longer have their monthly period and by this stage, most of the acute problems or symptoms experienced during perimenopause will end and a new balance of hormones will become established.
Estrogen is a main female sex hormone that is primarily found in the ovaries and is essential for reproduction and various systems in the body such as:
keeping skin smooth and hydrated
regulating the internal body temperature
maintaining proper bone formation
Estrogen levels drop dramatically after menopause when organs of the endocrine glands take over production of a less potent form of estrogen.
Progesterone is also a main female sex hormone that works as a counterpart to estrogen, rising and falling throughout the cycle to stimulate uterine lining growth and breakdown. Progesterone too has effects outside of the reproductive system, such as:
calming the brain
calming the nervous system
For many women, the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause have a major impact on their personal and social lives, which can be difficult to handle. While it’s well known that these symptoms are going to hit hard, many women don’t know that this doesn’t have to be the fate for everyone. With proper diet, supplementation and lifestyle intervention, most of these unpleasant side effects can actually be reduced and even eliminated all together.
seaweed (supportive of the thyroid which is responsible for regulating body temperature and metabolism)
foods rich in phytoestrogens, such as non-GMO soybean products, flax seeds (1 tbsp/day), whole grains, nuts, apples, fennel, parsley, celery, and alfalfa (these can limit hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause)
fresh fruits and vegetables, including 50 percent being raw
good quality proteins, such as wild fish (salmon, sardines, white fish), pasture raised chicken and eggs, legumes
Good quality fats, such as olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, avocado, and its oil
dairy and other animal products other than those previously mentioned (both dairy and meat promote hot flashes)
Herbs & Supplements
Speak with a holistic practitioner or herbalist prior to taking or combing herbs & supplements.
Essential Fatty Acids, such as evening primrose oil and black currant seed oil - EFAs are good for hot flashes and are important for the production of estrogen (take as directed on label)
Lecithin granules or capsules - important as an emulsifier for vitamin E, which reduces hot flashes and related symptoms (1 tbsp 3 times daily before meals for granules, 1,200mg 3 times daily before meals for capsules)
Vitamin E - reduces hot flashes and many other menopausal symptoms. use emulsion form for easier assimilation, or use d-alpha-tocopherol form (200 IU daily or 400 IU every other day)
Quercetin - an antioxidant flavonoid that may help with hot flashes
Vitamin C plus bioflavonoids - antioxidant helpful for reducing hot flashes (3,000-10,000 mg daily of C and 1,000mg daily of Bioflavonoids)
Gotu kola, black cohosh, red clover, and dong quai - helpful for relieving hot flashes, as well as vaginal dryness and depression
Anise, black cohosh, fennel, licorice, raspberry, sage, unicorn root, and wild yam - are natural estrogen promoters, as are soybean products
Chaste tree (regulates hormones and reduces menopausal symptoms)
Lemon Balm (cools hot flashes and improves mood)
Motherwort (is relaxing, calming and cools hot flashes)
Black Cohosh, Sage leaf, hops and rhubarb extract (cool hot flashes)
Maca (increases production of estrogen) - helps to improve sleep, mood, energy and provide relief for hot flashes
St. John’s Wort - reduces the occurrence of hot flashes
Avoid stress - although no one can avoid stress completely, it is important to do your best to manage and reduce stress as much as you can. This can mean taking 1 hour a day to do something for yourself, say no more to things that don’t make you feel good or things that no longer enhance your life, ask for help when you need it, go to bed earlier for a better sleep, focus on your breath in moments of stress, etc.
Get regular moderate exercise - keeping active is an important component to overall health as well as reducing hot flashes. moderate exercise helps to increase blood flow, keep organs healthy, and regulate hormone production.