A hot flash is a momentary sensation of heat that can be accompanied by redness of the face and sweating. The actual cause of hot flashes is still unknown, but it appears to be related to small changes in blood circulation.
Hot flashes during menopause
Hot flashes occur when the blood vessels that are closest to the surface of the skin, especially in the area of the face, dilate to increase perspiration and thus reduce body temperature. Some women also experience an increase in heart rate and chills. This type of hot flashes can appear during the night, interrupting the rhythm of sleep and altering the sensation of well-being of the woman.
The severity and duration of hot flashes vary from woman to woman during menopause. Some experience them for a very short period of time throughout menopause, while others may have hot flashes for life. In general, hot flashes tend to be less intense over time.
Although it is impossible to completely avoid hot flashes during menopause, there are certain factors that can cause them to appear more frequently and are more intense than normal. To prevent hot flashes, avoid these triggers:
- Spicy foods
- Tight clothes
- Tobacco and tobacco smoke
In addition to these recommendations, during the menopause you can practice the following habits:
- Keep calm.
- Keep your room cool at night.
- Uses fans during the day.
- Choose clothing made from fresh fabrics such as cotton.
- Practice abdominal breathing for 15 minutes in the morning and for 15 minutes in the afternoon (six to eight breaths per minute).
- Exercise every day. Walk, swim, dance and ride a bike to reduce the effects of hot flashes.
- Talk to your doctor about the possibility of starting hormone replacement therapy (TSH). This treatment that prevents the appearance of hot flashes in many women may also help reduce other symptoms of menopause such as vaginal dryness or mood disorders.
Although some alternative therapies such as botanical and herbal treatments have been shown to have some effectiveness in the treatment of menopausal symptoms, further research is needed to ensure that their benefits and side effects are fully tested.
Some botanicals and herbs that may help relieve hot flashes include:
- Derivatives of Soy: Soybeans contain iso-flavones and have similar effects to estrogen so they can reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes. However, the results of the investigations have in many cases been contradictory. In any case, it is recommended the intake of soy and its derivatives, not supplements in pill.
- Black Cohosh: Some studies suggest that black cohosh may be useful for the treatment of hot flashes and night sweats in the short term (six months or less).
- Evening primrose oil: It is another food that is often used for the treatment of hot flashes even if there is no scientific evidence to support it. Side effects of its consumption include nausea and diarrhea.
- Flaxseed: Although there is no scientific evidence to support the use of flaxseed, it is often used to decrease the symptoms of menopause, especially hot flashes.
Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any type of medicine or herb to relieve hot flashes. Keep in mind that they may be temporary and that you may be able to control them if any type of treatment.