Full disclosure, I haven’t been through menopause, but I have experienced a hot flash, and it’s pretty darn unbearable—sweltering like you’re in the Sahara, wanting to rip your clothes off, wishing you could run away from your body. That’s exactly how women I know have described the feeling, which is why we’ve decided that it’s important to discuss natural remedies for hot flashes.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually possible for you to have a full-blown hot flash that’s not related to menopause (or perimenopause, which starts a few years prior to menopause). Even men can have hot flashes. The heat wave can be accompanied by symptoms like heart palpitations, reddening of the skin, or the chills. Hormone replacement therapy is often prescribed to deal with hot flashes. However, HRT may have side effects in some cases (such as breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and more), and some women may therefore want to find alternative treatments for their hot flashes. Read on to see the top seven natural remedies for hot flashes. Go on, prepare yourself to cool down.
Use Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is a method by which you tighten—and then relax—the muscles in your body, beginning from your head and moving your way down to your toes. Adding a deep breathing component can make this alternative treatment even more effective. In one study, women who did progressive muscle relaxation along with slow, deep breathing experienced a 50% reduction in hot flashes. Some experts believe this works to subdue hot flashes by decreasing the stress hormone norepinephrine.
But we mean hypnosis of the medical variety (not just someone swinging a watch in front of your eyes). And if you’re a skeptic, it’s still worth giving it a go: A recent study found that women receiving hypnosis treatments for eight weeks experienced a 50% decrease in hot flashes.
Eat More Soy
Research has shown that consuming two servings of soy each day can not only decrease your hot flashes, but also lessen the intensity when you do get them. These beneficial effects likely stem from the fact that soy contains compounds called isoflavones, which function as estrogen in the body in some ways. You can amp up the amount of soy in your diet by eating more tofu, edamame, soy milk, or even miso.
Turn To Acupuncture
Although the actual specifics as to why it works are a little uncertain, experts suggest that acupuncture can lessen the frequency of hot flashes. (Some believe it may be because the needles help to decrease the stress hormone cortisol, as well as to increase endorphins and serotonin.) Research published in the journal Menopause found that of 209 women who had hot flashes, those who received acupuncture treatments said they experienced fewer hot flashes and slept better.
Use Essential Oils
Yes, we love essential oils. Aromatherapy is another science-backed natural remedy to help decrease the severity and frequency of hot flashes. Research shows that inhaling lavender essential oil for 20 minutes twice a day can effectively reduce them. Additionally, aromatherapy using neroli essential oil can decrease hot flashes, as well as improving other menopausal symptoms, such as low sexual desire and anxiety. Another study found that aromatherapy massage with lavender, rose, rose geranium, and jasmine in almond and primrose oils once a week for two months decreased hot flashes as well.
Try Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Is it us, or does mindfulness help just about everything? Research has demonstrated conflicting findings on whether mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques can improve the intensity or frequency of hot flashes—some studies say yes, others, not so much. However, one thing is for sure—science has proven that mindfulness can definitely decrease the anxiety, sleeplessness, and stress caused by moderate to severe hot flashes—therefore improving the quality of life for women who experience them.
Take Sage Tablets
A 2011 Swiss study found that when postmenopausal women took one sage tablet a day, the average number of hot flashes decreased by 64% within eight weeks. It's definitely worth a shot.
Now that you’re armed with the top seven natural remedies for hot flashes, you should feel prepared the next time you start to break a sweat. Remember that hot flashes are really nothing to be concerned about—and with these simple tips, you can ease your discomfort.
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