Of all the symptoms of the menopause, hot flushes are one of the most known and talked about. Studies suggest 75% of menopausal women struggle with hot flushes and they can be anything from a mild inconvenience to a debilitating symptom.
Hot flushes and night sweats (hot flushes that occur at night) can occur during the peri-menopause, menopause and post-menopause. The good news is that they will eventually stop and in the meantime, there is a lot you can do to alleviate symptoms.
Why do we get hot flushes?
The truth is, we don’t know. We do know that they are linked to fluctuations in hormone levels. Some studies suggest it is the decrease in oestrogen, other studies suggest the rise in the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
Whatever the reason, what is actually happening is that the blood vessels near the surface of the skin are dilating and blood is sent to the surface to cool off. The body may also produce sweat as another mechanism to cool down. It is the same automatic process that would happen on a hot day.
What do hot flushes feel like?
Flushes typically start in the top half of the body – torso, back, chest, neck, face and head and may move upwards or downwards. However, we are all unique and so is the hot flush picture which could include:
- Internal heat, external chills
- Hot all over but no sweating
- Hot then chilly
- Hot, red and sweaty
- Starting with palpitations or prickly skin or come on out of the blue
- Last a few seconds or 30 minutes
- Occur day and night or just at night
Help for hot flushes
Hot flushes can be made worse by certain triggers: caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, spicy foods, hot drinks, smoking. You need to figure out what your trigger is and the best way to do this is to cut something like caffeine out of your diet and keep a journal of your hot flushes. You are looking to see if there are any changes in frequency and intensity of flushes. If no changes, try the cutting out a different trigger.
Get your stress levels in check
Keeping stress in check is the best thing you can do for menopausal symptoms, whatever the symptom. Deep diaphragmatic breathing work, which will help reduce stress, has also been shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flushes.
Think about your external environment
How are you dressing? Cool layers, made from natural fibres are better for changes in temperatures. How about your bedroom? Having your bedroom a few degrees cooler is more conducive to good quality sleep and will also help with night sweats. A client of mine told me about the benefits of wool bedding. Being a natural fibre, wool expands and contracts with your body temperature so helps with the whole ‘covers on, cover off’ nights.
How’s your diet?
Eating more a more alkaline diet will help – that is more leafy green vegetables. As too the adaptogen Maca which has been shown to decrease the number and intensity of flushes, as well as helping stress levels and increasing libido. Diets high in refined carbohydrates and sugars make hot flushes worse.
Magnesium Glycinate is useful for reducing hot flushes in that it promotes relaxation, quietens the stress response and helps with sleep. Another supplement you could consider is Sage – you can use this in tea form or in supplement form, it is known to help with hot flushes.
How do you view menopause? Do you believe that it is a hideous transition where you are going to be plagued by symptoms? If so, that’s probably what you will get. Instead, why not try viewing it as an honour, something denied to many, a time of moving into your third stage, a time of stepping into your own power, your own wisdom.
I have numerous remedies to help reduce hot flushes as well as Homeobotanical herbal tonics which include Black Cohosh, Ginseng, Red Clover, Agnus Cactus to name a few. Both homeopathy and Homeobotanicals are individualised to your unique symptom picture so if you would like to know more, book a free discovery call today.