It's a fact, women get hotter as they get older! But I'm not talking about the lovely ladies many refer to as "Cougars," I'm talking about the premenopausal and menopausal women who experience hot flashes. This sensation of heat, which may also be accompanied by sweating and redness of the face, is something many women experience every day. A hot flash can also be referred to as hot flushes or night sweats, but just like "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," a hot flash by any other name still feels the same, hot! The specific causes of hot flashes are not known but many physicians believe they are a result of changing hormone levels. Whatever the cause, women who experience hot flashes can literally be called "Hot Women!"
Hot Flashes: Tips for Dealing with Hot Flashes
While it's nice to be called hot, being hot is not all it's cracked-up to be. Hot flashes can be uncomfortable, inconvenient, and just plain irritating. So, what's a "Hot Mama" to do when she has a case of the night sweats? Here are some tips:
Take a Cool Shower
When you're feeling a hot flash approaching, take a cool shower for five to ten minutes and then dress in cool lightweight cotton clothing. Do not take a hot or warm shower as that will raise your body temperature and may even cause a hot flash. If you don't want to take a shower or if it's just not convenient, soak a wash towel in cool water and use it to cool down your body.
Use a Cool Towel or Compress
Place a cool wet towel or compress on your forehead or other parts of your body for comfort and to help reduce your body temperature.
Use a Fan
Sitting or standing near a fan can help cool your body down and relieve the effects of a hot flash. You may also experience periods of feeling chilly then hot again, keep a lightweight sweater nearby for the times you feel cool.
In addition to all of the adverse effects of smoking, it may also cause frequent and more intense hot flashes. So if you smoke take steps to stop, not only to reduce hot flashes but for your health.
You should keep your body as cool as possible so try to wear loose fitting clothing made from cotton or other lightweight material. In addition, dress in layers and stay away from tight fitting clothing.
Get Regular Exercise
This may sound counterproductive as exercising raises your temperature. However, studies have shown that regular exercise may reduce your chances of having hot flashes or may reduce the intensity of them. Losing weight may also aid with the effects of hot flashes, and exercise is an important component of reaching a healthy weight.
Watch Your Diet
Research shows a diet which includes spicy foods, caffeinated drinks, and/or alcohol may increase the chances of having hot flashes. Restricting those foods and beverages from your diet may help to reduce either the intensity or frequency of hot flashes. In addition, drinking plenty of cool water in place of alcohol or caffeinated drinks is also recommended.
Some studies have also shown that a diet which includes soy may help with hot flashes, however, other studies indicate a high amount of soy in the diet may do more harm than good. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor prior to making any changes to your diet.
Take Deep Breaths
When you feel a hot flash coming on take a few slow deep breaths and continue this pattern of breathing for the duration of the hot flash. There have been studies which indicate the practice of taking slow deep breaths can reduce hot flashes by up to fifty percent.
Stress and worry may trigger hot flashes so try to avoid stressful situations. Practice relaxation techniques and try to reduce your stress and worry level.
Stay Cool in Hot Weather
When it's hot outside stay indoors, go to a cool place like the mall or the library, or turn the air conditioner on in your home and keep the air cool. If you have access to a pool, sit in it and cool down your body temperature. Try to stay cool when the weather is hot outside.
Vitamins and Herbal Supplements
Some studies recommend incorporating specific vitamins and herbal supplements into your diet to help with hot flashes. There are several supplements that claim to help with hot flashes, however, I recommend you speak with your doctor prior to trying any of them. Also, if you are prone to blood clots you should not take any product containing estrogen without your doctor’s authorization, and be sure he or she closely monitors your condition.
There are claims that certain scents like lavender, vanilla, geranium, and lemongrass may help relieve the symptoms of hot flashes. When you feel a hot flash coming on, take a whiff or two!
There are several drugs which may help with hot flashes, talk with your doctor about these prescription treatments and whether they are right for you. Before taking any hormones, however, be sure you are not prone to blood clots.
Being "Hot" has a new meaning as you enter the perimenopause and menopause years. Studies have shown that 85% of women experience hot flashes during perimenopause and/or menopause. In addition, between 20 to 50% of these women will continue to experience hot flashes for several years, however, in time, the intensity of the hot flashes will decrease.
So, if you're one of the millions of women who've experienced hot flashes, you should know that you are "HOT" in more ways than one!
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to take the place of any medical advice or information. Before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle, always check with your doctor.
For more information on menopause issues see the following articles: