If you ask anyone that’s had a hot flash they will tell you straight up – they are no fun. Hot flashes are episodes of flushing that can last a few seconds to a few minutes and occur at any time of day or night. They are often accompanied by sweaty hands/feet, a rapid or pounding heartbeat, a flushed red face and mild-moderate sweating. Hot flashes can occur as often as a few times a month to every hour of the day, and have the potential to affect your sleep and other key aspects of your life. The good news is you don’t need to suffer. Following are my top medical tips and strategies to achieve hot flash relief:
Medical Factors that Aggravate Hot Flashes: Get these checked out by your doctor
Low thyroid function (High TSH, Low T3, Low T4)
Hyperthyroidism (Low TSH, High T3, High T4). If you have a hyper-active thyroid you will likely also experience other symptoms in addition to hot flashes such as: unexplained weight loss, extreme fatigue, a racing heart at rest, and increased bowel movements
Low progesterone levels
Adrenal fatigue or dysfunction (see my blog post for details on Adrenal fatigue)
An over-burdened liver (elevated AST, ALT, GGT, dark circles under eyes, brown spots on skin)
Unbalanced blood sugar (Fasting blood glucose, fasting insulin & HBA1C over 5.2, shakiness or dizziness between meals, fat around mid-section)
Medications such as anti-depressants, opioids and some osteoporosis drugs often have side effects one of which is hot flashes. If you experience hot flashes after taking your prescription drugs, then you know that is likely the cause.
Lifestyle Factors that Aggravate Hot Flashes
Lack of physical activity
Overworking & exhaustion, inability to relax (this puts further strain on your adrenal glands)
Hot drinks & spicy foods (you don’t want to add heat to an already over-heated body)
High sugar foods, alcohol, smoking, chocolate & caffeine (These contain additives like sulfites which are common triggers for hot flashes)
Red meat, dairy, peanuts, shellfish (these are all inflammatory foods that exacerbate hot flashes)
Poor sleep habits (see my blog on How to Prevent Insomnia and Optimize your Sleep)
My Top Natural Hot Flash Remedies & Strategies
Eat a diet loaded with plant foods, whole grains, legumes, fresh fruits & veggies: These foods contain fiber for liver detoxification and phytosterols that have a hormone balancing effect.
Get 40 minutes of exercise every day. Regular exercise balances the neurotransmitters that regulate your mood and body temperature.
Maintain a healthy weight: Excess fat traps heat, making you sweat more to cool off your body.
Effective Natural Remedies: These are the key natural remedies I use often in my practice to provide relief from menopausal symptoms: Black Cohosh, Vitex Angus Castus, St. John’s Wort, Valerian, Ginseng, B Vitamins and Fish Oil.
Sage Tea: In clinical studies sage tea reduced hot flashes by 50% within 4 weeks. (Celebration Herbals makes a great Sage Leaf Tea) Directions: Steep 1 bag for 15 min. Add some lemon or honey to sweeten if preferable.
Consume organic, hormone-free animal products: Consuming hormone-free products will prevent a further hormone imbalance in your body.
Take a warm sitz bath: This increases circulation to the pelvic area and will improve vaginal dryness and libido.
Use Geranium and rose essential oils: Both of these oils have a gentle balancing effect on hormone levels & reduces stress. Add them to your bath water, pillow case, diffuser or mix with a little bit of almond or apricot oil and rub under your nose.
Drink 8 oz of filtered water every 2 waking hours. This will help flush out toxins and replace fluid loss due to the hot flashes
1-2 tbsp ground flax seed: Ground flax is a wonderful source of essential fatty acids and plant-based estrogen to help balance hormones. You can add it to soups, salads, cereal, stir fries, smoothies etc.
Find positive ways to reduce your stress. Stress reduces the function of the adrenal glands and increases inflammation. Ideas: Restorative yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, guided meditations, spend time outdoors, volunteering, and surround yourself with positive inspiring people.