The most common complaint of the menopausal women is ‘hot flashes’. Approximately 50-85% women around the world above 45 years of age experience it. The prevalence of hot flash is lowest among China and Asian nations, whereas it is more common in the Western countries and it is strongly influenced by the culture and the race. In this article, we will learn about home remedies for hot flashes.
What is a Hot Flash?
Hot flashes begin by a sudden redness of the skin on the face, neck and chest and it is further associated with a feeling of intense heat in the upper body and sometimes it ends with extreme sweating. It is also associated with weakness, fainting and dizziness. It usually lasts for about 1 to 5 minutes and in some women, it can even last for about 15 minutes. A hot flash is a painful and unpleasant experience and it can result in:
- Behavioral changes
- Mood swings
- Problems with memory and concentration
- Fatigue or tiredness
Hence, many women seek medical treatment during menopause and it affects the overall quality of life too. By making some changes in the diet and lifestyle pattern, women can improve their health status and relieve their symptoms.
A drop in the activity of estrogen during menopause increases the activity of serotonin receptors in the brain and stimulates them. Serotonin plays an important role in controlling the body temperature and regulating mood.
Activation of serotonin receptors results in a change in the temperature regulation center and increases the autonomic body responses, like increased body temperature and sweating. Thus, any food or medication or a lifestyle change that decreases norepinephrine and increases serotonin, estrogen, and endorphins help in reducing hot flashes.
Home Remedies for Hot Flashes
Keep reading to know the natural ways to relieve hot flashes:
Increase Your Intake of Vitamin B9 or Folic Acid
An interesting study found that increased intake of vitamin B9 via diet and supplements improved hot flashes in women by 65%. It lowers the increased central noradrenergic activity and interferes with the action of norepinephrine.
Studies have also noted that the effect of vitamin B9 was similar to estrogen replacement therapy. Therefore, by increasing the intake of vitamin B9-rich foods, the intensity, frequency and severity of hot flashes can be reduced in women.
Here is a list of vitamin B9 rich foods:
- Dark green vegetables such as spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, broccoli and asparagus
- Pulses and beans
Sprinkle Some Flax Seeds
Studies have found that eating flaxseeds may ease the troublesome experience of the hot flashes. The presence of lignans in flaxseeds, an estrogen-like chemical may be a potentially effective treatment for hot flashes.
Consumption of flaxseeds reduces regularly hot flashes and sweating associated with it. It also reduces the risk of breast cancer, which is high in the post-menopausal women.
You can directly eat roasted flaxseeds on a daily basis or add them to your bowl of oatmeal or while making bread or chapati. You can even add flaxseed oil to your fresh vegetable salads.
However, one should keep in mind that flaxseeds are high in dietary fiber, therefore it is important to increase your water intake. Intake of flaxseeds without consumption of ample amount of water may lead to gastrointestinal issues like bloating and flatulence.
Get Some Good Sources of Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and a powerful antioxidant and research suggest that it is helpful in the treatment of hot flashes. Studies have reported that women who were on vitamin E supplements showed an improvement in their frequency and severity of hot flashes. Besides this, vitamin E is safe to use and has no side-effects like other medications. Here are the rich food sources of vitamin E:
- Pine nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Wheat germ oil
The most popular herb used to treat hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms is ‘black cohosh’. An interesting study found that a group of women who consumed black cohosh for 8 weeks showed a decline in the severity and number of hot flashes.
The exact mechanism via which, black cohosh works, is unknown but, some studies have found that black cohosh is linked to the estrogen receptor and it inhibits Luteinizng Hormone secretion without affecting Follicle Stimulating Hormone.
Black cohosh modifies the effect of serotonin in the body and helps in the regulation of the body temperature. Hence, black cohosh tea is what menopausal women need to relieve the hot flashes as well as other symptoms of menopause.
Soy contains isoflavones, which are effective in treating hot flashes. Isoflavones are plant compounds, which act as phytoestrogens and mimic the activity of estrogen. They bind to the estrogen receptors and mimic the action of estrogen functions in the body.
Soy isoflavones have potential hormonal activity due to their structural similarity with 17-β-estradiol. The most powerful phytoestrogens in soy are isoflavone daidzein, genistein and glycitein.
Hence, regular consumption of soy foods in women can help in relieving hot flashes. Good food sources of soy include:
- Soy milk
- Soy yogurt
Consumption of sage is an age-old remedy that helps in getting rid of the annoying hot flashes and night sweats.
An interesting study found that intake of sage for 8 weeks reduced the severity and frequency of hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
Using sage to treat the symptoms is an effective, affordable and an easy method. Flavonoids and tannins present in it may be responsible for this beneficial effect of sage on the menopausal symptoms.
Besides this, it increases estradiol levels in the body, which further helps in improving the status of menopausal women.
Drink a cup or two of sage tea daily to relieve hot flashes and night sweats. Here is the recipe on how to prepare sage tea at home:
- To make sage tea, bring 1 cup of water to boil.
- Remove this water from heat and add 1 tablespoon of dried sage leaves or 2 tablespoons of fresh sage leaves.
- Cover it and allow it to steep for 3-5 minutes.
- Strain this tea into a cup and add lemon juice and honey to it. Stir well.
- You can even add ginger juice to sage tea.
The research has also found that ginger is an excellent remedy for treating hot flashes and night sweats in women. Hence, combining these two herbs can be beneficial and more effective.
Research has observed that red clover has a positive effect in alleviating hot flashes in menopausal women. Red clover contains isoflavones that mimic the action of estrogen in the body. This helps in the management of menopausal symptoms in women.
The estrogenic activity of compounds present in red clover helps in the prevention of menopausal symptoms. These dietary estrogens bind to the estrogen receptors in the body and help in getting rid of the uncomfortable hot flashes and night sweat.
You can consume red clover in the form of tea. Consume 1-2 cups of this tea daily for effective results. Here is how you can prepare red clover tea easily:
- Boil 1 cup of water.
- Place 1 tablespoon of dried or fresh red clover flowers in the teapot. Pour the boiling water over red clover flowers and allow it to steep for 10-15 minutes.
- Strain this tea and consume it without adding any sweetener to it.
- Red clover flowers are naturally sweet and it imparts a naturally sweet taste to the tea. Hence, there is no need to add honey to it.
Yoga for Hot Flashes
Yoga is a great way to relax the internal as well as external system. The troubling symptoms of menopause can be managed with the help of regular yoga and meditation.
Yoga relaxation techniques and slow, deep, abdominal breathing are found to be useful for decreasing mild to moderate intensity hot flashes. These breathing practices are the most integral core of any yoga practice.
The combination of deep relaxation, breathing exercises and physical postures is highly beneficial in reducing hot flashes and night sweats in menopausal women. The research found that women who practiced yoga on a regular basis showed a greater reduction in the frequency and severity of hot flashes as compared to women who did not practice yoga.
Yoga decreases arousal in the autonomic nervous system. The hormonal changes that occur during menopause, leading to the narrowing of the body’s thermoregulatory zone, which is under the control of the autonomic nervous system.
The thermoregulatory zone is responsible for an increase or decrease in the body temperature. Narrowing of the thermoregulatory zone results in hot flashes when the body temperature increases. As yoga decreases arousal of the autonomic nervous system, it helps in improving thermoregulation.
Yoga and meditation also help in the management of stress and anxiety, which otherwise cause changes in the hormonal balance and affect the quality of life in menopausal women.
Hence, women who want to treat their menopausal symptoms naturally, without any medications, should practice yoga daily to bring a positive change in their overall health status.
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