Hot flashes periodically and regularly occur in premenopausal and menopausal women. They are an indication of changing hormonal levels and a decrease of estrogen in the body. Menopause is a critical period in the life of a woman. Not only does it lead to a decline in her fertility, but a drop in the crucial hormones take a toll on her body in several ways.
Hot flashes are a feeling of excessive warmth on the facial and neck regions. A large majority of menopausal women experience them. They are often followed by sweating and a flushing of skin. They can be very uncomfortable and can disturb sleep at night. Here are some of the common treatment modalities that have been visualized for hot flashes.
Treatment For Hot Flashes
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy also known as HRT is the oft exercised choice of treatment for women experiencing very severe hot flashes. The hormone therapy uses a combination of estrogen and progesterone in its oral or transdermal form. The pills are taken regularly by women to ease out the experience of hot flashes.
Several women have reported a relief from their symptoms with hormone replacement therapy. The only glitch with this treatment is that it cannot be continued for a very long period of time, as HRT has been frequently associated with the incidence of breast cancer, stroke and heart attacks in women.
elective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
These are also known as SSRI’s. This class of medication has conventionally been used to treat clinical depression but is now widely being used to treat hot flashes. They help to decrease and control the severity of the hot flashes. Of course, these are prescription drugs and should be sold only after thorough evaluation and assessment of the patient’s medical history.
This is a medication, which contains progesterone only and can be administered to menopausal women for short durations only.
They should be discontinued very gradually as they are associated with very severe side effects. Since it also leads to a lot of weight gain, it is not recommended as the first line of treatment.
Excessive stress can bring on violent attacks of hot flashes. This is because stress releases cortisol, a stress hormone that acts in conjunction with decreasing estrogen levels to aggravate hot flashes. Stay calm and happy no matter how dire the circumstances. Mental calm and well-being can go a long way in keeping you free from hot flashes and the discomfort associated with it.
Caffeine has a direct link with the experience of hot flashes. Women, who consume several cups of coffee a day, seem to have more severe attacks of hot flashes. This is probably because caffeine acts as a stimulant. You would fare better by toning down your coffee intake to not more than a cup a day.
Avoid tight clothing by all costs. This is because tight clothing is very restrictive and can cause you to break out into a sweat. The experience of hot flashes feels more severe if you are wearing tight and restrictive clothing. Keep cool by wearing loose garments.
Hot flashes seem to get worse in the hot summer months when the temperatures outside are soaring. Your body temperature is as it is very high and coupled with the heat, hot flashes may become even more intense. Sit in air-conditioned rooms to ward off attacks of hot flashes. Another way is to take frequent showers, which will help you to feel cool.
Spicy foods like condiments and chillies generate a lot of heat in the body and this may trigger an attack of a hot flash. Stick to cool foods like salads, fruits and veggies and sip on fruit juices and liquids throughout the day.
Take a walk in the morning as soon as you get up. A morning walk will help you to feel much better and will reduce the duration and severity of the hot flashes. This is because hormones respond well to physical exertion to maintain an optimum balance in the body.
Specially designed cold pillows may help you to stay cool at night and preventive excessive heat from being trapped on your facial and neck skin. Rest your head on these pillows at night, as they will help your head to stay cool.
Certain vitamins are said to be useful in treatment of hot flashes. These include vitamin C and Vitamin B complex. These are non-prescription drugs and you can take any local brand after consulting with your doctor.
Flaxseed is supposed to be a good source of the vital omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are said to reduce the severity of menopause symptoms although there is no scientific evidence to support it.
Still, it does no harm so you can supplement your diet with a generous dose of flaxseeds. You can take it in the form of crushed seeds that have been sprinkled on your porridge or you can have it as flaxseed oil.
Herbs like black cohosh are said to be effective against hot flashes and symptoms of hot flashes. However, these should not be used for a very long period of time and should be ideally discontinued after 6-8 months. The common side effects of black cohosh are intestinal disturbances.
Dress in Layers and Avoid Synthetic Fabrics
One of the best ways of beating a hot flash is to reinvent your wardrobe. If it is cold outside, make sure you dress in layers so that you can peel off the layer one after the other. Avoid wearing linen, knits, wool, silk and hosiery during the hot summer months as this can worsen the flush you feel during the experience of a hot flash.
Sip on Water
Sip on fluids, ice-cold lemonade and water to cool your insides. This will help to ease off the sensation of a hot flash to a large extent. Wear loose fitting garments, cotton pyjamas or a flimsy nightgown to avoid breaking out into a sweat at night.