While menopause affects every woman differently, hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms that occur at this stage of life. About 85% of menopausal women experience hot flashes, a condition that causes short and sudden feelings of heat and sweating.
You can experience hot flashes as early as two to three years before your last menstrual period. While the average duration of hot flashes is two years, it’s possible to have these episodes for 15 years or longer after your final period.
During that time, hot flashes can occur unpredictably, from occasionally to several times a day. They can last for 30 seconds or extend for five minutes or longer.
While hot flashes are often considered an inevitable byproduct of menopause, you don’t have to let them control your life. The menopause specialists at Ovation Wellness in Madison, Mississippi, provide professional treatment and empathetic support during a time that can be challenging to navigate. They can help you manage hot flashes and other life-disrupting symptoms of menopause so you can feel better and live normally.
The solutions that work for you depend on your condition and the extent to which your hot flashes occur. Consider trying the following steps to reduce the effects of hot flashes.
#1 Manage the room temperature
While hot flashes affect your body temperature, they can be intensified when exterior factors create a warm environment. Take charge of the circumstances you can control to reduce the exterior factors making you feel warm.
Work to keep your surroundings at a cool temperature. In addition to lowering your thermostat, try blocking out natural sunlight with shades or curtains during the hottest times of the day. Position fans purposefully so they circulate cool air toward the areas where you relax or work so you can maintain your routines if a hot flash occurs.
If you experience intense nighttime hot flashes, called night sweats, replace heavy comforters and blankets with lightweight sheets. Lower your nighttime thermostat to create a cool sleeping environment and reduce the intensity of any nighttime episodes that may occur while you sleep.
#2 Eat a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet provides all the nutrients you need to support your body through the physical and mental changes that menopause causes. Focus on eating fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains.
Stay away from alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine, which can promote hot flashes in some women. Avoid eating too many foods high in salt, processed carbs, and added sugars, which can make you retain water and feel irritable.
Persistent sweating from hot flashes increases your risk of dehydration. Drinking at least eight glasses of water a day is the best way to quench your thirst at this stage of life.
#3 Reduce stress
Stress can promote hot flashes, irritability, and mood swings. You can offset these triggers by working to lessen stress in your life.
When you feel the onset of a hot flash, take several deep breaths and concentrate on relaxing. Learn techniques for self-calming such as yoga and meditation to help you feel calm and maintain clear focus.
Establish a calming routine at night to reduce the impact of daily stress and promote quality sleep.
#4 Dress in layers
You can also avoid being overheated by a hot flash by dressing in layers. This allows you to adapt to your body’s changing internal temperature by quickly and discreetly removing an outer layer of clothing.
Look for breathable fabrics that are also moisture-wicking. While cotton “breathes,” it can also draw water away from your body and absorb it. Moisture-wicking fabrics can provide effective cooling that also keeps you dry.
#5 Consider bioidentical hormone therapy
If hot flashes interfere with your daily life despite lifestyle changes, you may benefit from bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
Bioidentical hormones are compounds that are chemically identical to your body’s natural hormones. BHRT involves a customized treatment plan designed to relieve hot flashes by regulating your levels of estrogen and progesterone.
BHRT can be delivered via patches, creams, gels, injections, or implanted pellets. BHRT pellets, which are no larger than a grain of rice, are implanted under your skin, usually in the fatty tissue near your buttocks.
These pellets release a constant level of hormones over several months. The effect maintains a hormone balance similar to your natural hormones.
Learn more about ways to deal with hot flashes and other common symptoms of menopause. Call our office today to schedule a medical consultation.