Hot flashes are a notoriously troublesome symptom of menopause and perimenopause. If you’ve had hot flashes, you’re far from alone. More than 75% of women get them.
It starts with a rush of sudden heat. Your face is flushed, and your neck and chest are suddenly overheated. You’re sweaty, and your heart is racing.
Like all other menopause symptoms, hormonal fluctutations are to blame. Even though you can’t avoid menopause, there are some strategies you can implement to help manage those pesky hot flashes.
That’s just the topic board-certified gynecologist Essam Taymour, MD, FACOG, and our team here at Gynecology and Obstetrics Medical Group in Long Beach, California, explore today.
Although you can’t predict when you’ll have a hot flash, wearing lightweight layers can help you feel more comfortable when one strikes. Choose breathable fabrics, such as cotton, to help prevent you from getting too hot.
If you work in an office where you don’t control the thermostat, wearing layers affords you the ability to easily add or remove a layer so you can remain comfortable throughout the day.
Hot beverages and spicy foods increase your body temperature, and they can trigger a hot flash. Other common dietary hot flash triggers include:
Try an icy drink, such as iced herbal tea, instead of hot coffee and see if you feel any better. You can also try cold soup as a tasty lunchtime alternative to hot soup.
Exercising makes you sweaty and raises your core body temperature, so it’s tempting to think this is the perfect storm for a hot flash. But the truth is that regular exercise can help reduce the severity of hot flashes, according to a study published in the Journal of Psychology.
Researchers noted that women who regularly exercised for four months still experienced hot flashes, but they were less intense. Blood flow decreased to the skin by 9%, which explains why the hot flash is less intense. Less increased blood flow to the skin means you don’t feel quite as hot or flushed.
Exercise can help you manage other symptoms of menopause, too. It can help you maintain a healthy weight, support a healthy mood, and help improve your quality of sleep at night.
One caveat: Exercising too close to bedtime can make it harder for you to fall asleep and, because of the increased body temperature, might make you more at risk for night sweats.
Staying cool is one of the best ways to reduce the frequency of hot flashes. Although summer is here, these tips can help you stay cool during the warmer months:
Because you can’t avoid all hot flashes, keep a spare outfit in your car or at your office. That way, if you do get sweaty, you can change into fresh, dry clothes.
All of these lifestyle modifications can help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes, but if you find that they’re still interfering with your quality of life, menopause management might be for you.
The team at Gynecology and Obstetrics Medical Group knows that if you’re dealing with hot flashes, chances are high you’re also experiencing other menopause symptoms. We look at the whole picture and help improve your quality of life by balancing your hormones, supporting your mood, and helping you meet your body’s nutritional requirements during menopause.
Dr. Taymour may recommend any combination of the following if the effects of menopause are interfering with your life: talk therapy, hormone therapy to balance your hormones, nutritional supplements, low-dose antidepressants, and laser vaginal revitalization.
Don’t let hot flashes or other menopause symptoms rule your life. Explore your menopause management options by booking an appointment today.