Menopausal hot flashes are one of symptoms almost every woman experiences at some point during menopause. The discomfort and inconvenience associated with menopausal hot flashes is enough to make most women seek a solution.
Menopausal hot flashes are a perfectly normal part of the natural biological transition into the post-reproductive years. Menopausal hot flashes occur when there is a sudden surge in body temperature dues to fluctuating hormone levels. When the body's temperature rises so precipitously, menopausal hot flashes result.
When Do Menopausal Hot Flashes Occur?
Menopausal hot flashes are a very common menopause symptom; in fact, they may well be the most common. Women in either perimenopause (the stage before menopause) or menopause itself are most susceptible to experiencing hot flashes.
Women can enter perimenopause and experience menopause hot flashes as early as their mid-forties, although it is rare. Most women begin to experience menopausal hot flashes and other menopause symptoms in their late forties, but most women will begin to experience menopausal symptoms a few years before menopause.
Can Menopausal Hot Flashes Be Prevented?
Despite the uncomfortable and often inconvenient nature of menopausal hot flashes, women need not despair. There are ways to reduce the occurrence of menopausal hot flashes. Most are simple and require only minor adjustments to everyday life. The list below provides some suggestions for preventing hot flashes.
- Avoid spicy foods and hot drinks
- Wear light clothes if possible. In winter, dress in easily-removable layers.
- Use cotton sheets
- Increase soy intake
- Drink plenty of water
- Keep stress levels low - practice yoga, meditation, or other stress-reduction techniques.
How Can Menopausal Hot Flashes Be Treated?
Menopausal hot flashes cannot be fully prevented, but they can often be very effectively treated. In many cases, simple changes in diet and lifestyle have resulted in dramatic relief from menopausal hot flashes. Several changes with proven effectiveness are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, avoiding alcohol, and not smoking.
Menopausal hot flashes can also be treated with herbal supplements that help facilitate the regulation of the endocrine system, the part of the body that controls hormone secretion. As a last resort, women suffering from menopausal hot flashes may wish to explore the possibility of hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
It is recommended that women discuss treatment options with their doctors.