According to WebMD, as many as two-thirds of menopausal women in America suffer from hot flashes. Hot flashes are caused by lowered estrogen levels, and estrogen has a direct effect on the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that controls circadian cycles, body temperature, and other functions. It may be that this drop in estrogen somehow confuses the hypothalamus because it cannot read the body’s temperature correctly and fluctuating body temperatures result. When hot flashes and menopause happens, you may feel as if you the woman pictured here does: It’s only a matter of time before you’re all wet.
The intensity, length, and symptoms of hot flashes vary. For instance, some women experience intense hot flashes that involve their face and upper body, or sometimes they experience rapid heartbeats. Other women may hardly notice a thing. Hot flashes can last a short time or may plague a women for life, although usually the intensity decreases with time. Some women may also experience anxiety, dizziness, nausea, or sweating, and sometimes a woman many even experience an uneasy feeling before the hot flash and then chills after it occurs.
One thing is for certain, hot flashes are disruptive and often unpredictable. Many women complain they occur at the most importune time, and sometimes they are so bothersome, women can’t sleep becausee they are so disruptive. In fact, some women’s temperatures fluctuate as much as six degrees centigrade, which, of course, makes it extremely difficult to function, let alone sleep.
Hot flashes can also be triggered by
- hot foods
- spicy foods
- tight clothing
There are several options for hot flashes. For instance, vitamin B complex and vitamin E can often help, as can ibuprofen. Doctors also prescribe blood pressure medications, antiseizure medications, hormones, or antidepressants. Another option comes from well-known herbalist and author Rosemary Gladstar. In her book Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal: A Guide to Living Life with Energy, Health, and Vitality, she recommends several things to help with hot flashes. One suggestion is a sage tea called “Heat Relief.” To make the infusion combine
- 2 parts black cohosh
- 2 parts motherwort
- 2 parts sage
- 1 part blue vervain
- 1 part chaste tree berry
Use 1 teaspoon of the above mixture per 1 cup hot water, and steep for 30 minutes. Gladstar recommends you drink up to 3 cups in 1/4 cup doses daily.
To learn more about menopausal symptoms, read Perimenopause and You!, and if you’re interested in learning about supplements and foods that can aid and reduce hot flashes and menopause symptoms, read Menopause Supplements and Menopause Diet. In addition, if you’re interested in clothing that may help you stay dry, read Hot Flashes and Staying Dry. If you’ve wondered about bio-identicals, you can also read, Bio-identical to learn more about them.