In this article, you can read about natural remedies and lifestyle tips to help you with hot flashes.
But first, let’s see what are hot flashes and what are the menopause symptoms.
Vasomotor symptoms, or hot flashes and night sweats, are the most common symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.
Perimenopause is the period before menopause when these symptoms begin and peak.
This period lasts on average for 4 years but can last for much longer.
Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when she has not had a period for at least a year.
She may continue to experience hot flashes and night sweats, but they will probably occur less often.
The details of exactly how hot flashes work are still not fully understood. However, most research suggests that a lack of estrogen interferes with the body’s ability to control the temperature.
While hormone replacement medications can help treat severe cases, natural remedies may lessen the intensity and frequency of hot flashes.
Menopause symptoms can be perceived as physical problems, emotional disturbances, or problems associated with sexual functioning.
Physical symptoms of menopause include:
- “Hot flashes” – sudden waves of mild or intense body heat
- Night sweats – similar to hot flashes that occur at night and result in profuse sweating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increasing variability of the menstrual cycle, including irregular and missed periods
- Decreased bone density (occurring later in the menopausal transition), potentially leading to osteoporosis and fractures.
Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes
Sage for hot flushes
You’d normally find sage in a recipe sage and onion stuffing but it has been traditionally used for a range of conditions, including menopause symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats.
Now there’s some early clinical evidence that it works.
In 2011, Swiss researchers discovered that sage could reduce hot flushes by 50% in four weeks and by 64% within eight weeks.
The helpful herb could reduce the psychological symptoms of menopause, such as mood swings, by 47%, too.
In the study, women took a tablet containing fresh sage, but you could try making a tea with sage leaves.
Sea buckthorn to boost your sex life
Many women say they experience a dip in their sex life during menopause – symptoms like vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy (where the tissues of the vagina start to thin) aren’t great bedfellows for romance.
But sea buckthorn oil could be one answer, especially in women who can’t use estrogen creams or suppositories.
In a controlled trial by the University of Turku, Finland, women taking sea buckthorn oil every day for three months said they experienced less vaginal dryness, itching, and burning, while additional tests showed the oil could help improve atrophy.
Sea buckthorn oil is rich in fatty acids that may help maintain healthy cell barriers.
Vitamin E to ease hot flushes
Vitamin E is known for its ability to support healthy skin and eyes, but research now shows it could be good for hot flushes, too.
A 2007 study published in the journal Gynecologic & Obstetric Investigation reported that menopausal women taking 400 mcg of vitamin E every day for four weeks experienced fewer hot flushes and that those flashes were less severe.
Some women say that vitamin E can help relieve dry skin post-menopause, and tackle vaginal dryness too. You can find vitamin E in avocados, nuts and seeds, plant oils like olive oil, and in various skincare products.
Related: Vitamin E and Vitamin E Oil Health Benefits
Ginkgo biloba for low libido
Apart from the physical side-effects, your sex drive can also take a hit during the menopause.
This is where ginkgo biloba steps up.
A 2014 Iranian study found that women taking the herbal remedy every day for 30 days felt more sexual desire compared with those taking a placebo.
Ginkgo biloba has also been shown to help relieve memory problems and mild anxiety – both (less well-known but still significant) symptoms of menopause.
So, ginkgo can restore your get-up-and-go in more ways than one!
Valerian to tackle temperature changes
Hot flushes can affect up to 85% of women during perimenopause, but luckily there are plenty of natural remedies to combat them!
Valerian – traditionally used for anxiety and sleep problems – has also been reported as a successful remedy for menopausal hot flushes.
Valerian has phytoestrogenic properties, which means it mimics the effects of estrogen in the body.
One 2018 study conducted by Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Iran, concluded that women taking valerian capsules twice a day for two months had less severe and less frequent hot flushes, and suggested that healthcare providers should recommend it to menopausal women.
However, because valerian can cause drowsiness, it should be avoided by anyone taking tranquilizers, sleeping pills or strong pain medication.
Soy for menopause symptoms
Soy, a well-known oestrogenic plant, has been widely studied for its impact on menopause symptoms, particularly hot flushes and night sweats.
A 2015 meta-analysis of quality medical studies concluded that phytoestrogens, including soy, could reduce the frequency of hot flushes by 11%.
Be aware that it takes time for soy to take effect – experts suggest you may need to take it for at least three months before you start to feel the benefits.
You can consume soy either as a food such as tofu or soya milk or in a supplement as soy isoflavones.
Women with breast cancer or other hormone-sensitive cancer should not take soy supplements.
There are many ways that women experiencing hot flashes can get some relief from symptoms.
Identifying situations that trigger hot flashes can help women avoid them.
Recommended lifestyle tips that may help reduce hot flashes include:
Identifying trigger points and avoiding them
The factors that increase the frequency and severity of hot flashes vary from woman to woman.
Common triggers include:
- warm weather
- spicy or hot foods and beverages
Most women do not need to avoid trigger points entirely, but knowing which specific factors worsen hot flashes allows women to deal with them when they occur.
Smoking may speed up the onset of menopause and increase the severity of symptoms, especially hot flashes.
Obesity and unhealthy body weight are thought to increase in the intensity and frequency of hot flashes.
Carrying cool water at all times
Drinking cold water or splashing it over the face and wrists can help quickly cool the body during hot flashes. Having a cold shower or running the face and wrists under cold water helps lower body temperature even quicker.
Staying hydrated may also help steady body temperatures.
Keeping a fan close by
The breeze generated by fans can help keep bedroom temperatures cool and steady throughout the night. Handheld fans can also provide instant cooling relief.
Relaxation techniques and exercises
Stress causes the release of a substance called epinephrine, which increases body temperature and sweating.
Relaxing activities may help reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes.
Relaxation techniques such as yoga, Tai chi, and meditation may help reduce the frequency of hot flashes.
Recommended relaxation exercises include:
- guided thought
- Tai chi and qi gong
- talk therapy or counselor services
- breathing exercises
The intensity of hot flashes can cause a sense of panic, intensifying symptoms. Rushing to find relief, such as a damp towel or rapidly fanning oneself may increase body temperature.
Eating a healthful diet
Nutrients, in particular proteins and fats, help guide healthy hormone and nerve signaling.
A well-balanced diet can also reduce blood sugar changes that cause similar symptoms to hot flashes.
Women should eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as cold-water fish or ground flaxseed, or consider a fish oil supplement.
Conclusion: Once your body begins menopausal changes, the symptoms can last for a few years or longer.
Still, this doesn’t mean you have to suffer through the discomfort of hot flashes.
These natural remedies and lifestyle changes can help with hot flashes. If you take some medications first consult with your doctor before taking some of these remedies.