“You look hot, Mom!” exclaims your twelve-year-old daughter as she greets you one morning.
Unfortunately, she’s not talking about how good you look in your new top. She’s referring to the beads of sweat dripping down your face. Even more frustrating is that it’s only 8AM and the AC is set at a chilly 69 degrees. Sound familiar?
Hot flashes is the most common symptom of menopause. A hot flash is an intense surge of body heat accompanied by sweating and redness in the head, neck and chest.
The actual cause of hot flashes is still not completely understood, but most women will completely agree that they are AWFUL. Here are some tips on how to get rid of hot flashes.
According to the National Institute of Aging (a division of the National Institute of Health), the onset of menopause ranges from ages 45 – 55. At that age, we’re just hitting our stride, we have too many things to do, see and accomplish. We’ve prevailed through PMS symptoms throughout our lives; now is not the time to succumb to our hormones!
A medical prescription for hot flashes doesn’t exist, but we can easily and naturally mitigate the problem if we’re mindful about some of our lifestyle choices.
That said, here are four ways to beat the heat from hot flashes:
Hot flashes can be brought on by wearing tight clothing, being in stressful situations, and consuming alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods. If you begin to experience hot flashes, be mindful and observe possible causes of them in your day. When you’re experiencing a hot flash, write down what you’re wearing, what you’ve had to eat or drink, what kind of day you’ve had at work. Review your hot flash log after five or so recordings to observe patterns in the triggers. While stress is a tough one to avoid, other choices are easy to change, like wardrobe and alcohol intake. Keep hot flash remedies close at hand, in case one is triggered suddenly.
Paced breathing calms the sympathetic nervous system and enhances circulation. If you haven’t tried meditation, now might be a great time, and it only takes a few minutes. Identify a calm space in your home or office and dedicate time each day to focus on you. If you need help getting started, there are terrific guided meditation apps available such as Simple Habit or Headspace.
Studies have shown that women who are active and eat a healthy diet have fewer and less severe menopause symptoms than those who do not practice a healthy lifestyle. Being aware of your nutrition and hormones is key. Even if you’ve never exercised a day in your life, now is a great time to get started. Exercise improves your mental and physical well-being, and doesn’t need to be strenuous to be effective. Find a buddy and walk three or more times a week for an hour, take a yoga class, or spend time in your garden.
Complementing your exercise routine with a healthy diet is also key in suppressing hot flashes. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that followed 6,000 women for nine years, those whose diets were high in fat and sugar were 20 percent more likely to experience menopause night sweats and hot flashes . Fill your day with fruits, veggies and whole grains and minimize your intake of added sugars found in sugary drinks, baked goods and coffee drinks. A diet filled with whole, fiber-rich foods can help stabilize blood sugar levels and will have a positive effect on your overall mood.
If implementing all four of these strategies seems overwhelming, try one new technique every week. After a few weeks, you’ll have four powerful tools that will help give you the upper hand on handling hot flashes.
Need help getting rid of hot flashes? Book a visit with a menopause specialist.
What do you do to conquer hot flashes? Sweaty women everywhere would love to know! Join the Gennev community and share your tips!