One of the most common side effects menopausal women complain about is hot flashes. They can strike at any time, making them the constant threat looming in the back of your mind. If you want to reduce the occurrence of your hot flashes and make them more bearable, there are several things you can do. Here's a look at some things you can do both at home and with your doctor to help you manage your hot flash symptoms.
First and foremost, there are some lifestyle changes you can make right away to start easing your symptoms.
- Manage Your Weight – when you carry extra body weight, that added body fat can actually increase your core body temperature and the occurrence of your hot flashes. Stay within a healthy weight range to minimize your discomfort.
- Exercise Regularly – routine exercise can not only help to improve your overall health, but daily workouts can reduce the frequency of your hot flashes. Just keep your workouts moderate. Extensive and strenuous workouts can actually trigger hot flashes.
- Eat Right – by eating foods rich in whole grains as well as fruits and vegetables, you'll keep your cholesterol and saturated fat intake low. This may help you keep some hot flashes at bay. Skip the hot sauce and caffeine, though – they've been known to increase menopausal discomfort.
Make Yourself Comfortable
One of the most common issues with hot flashes is when they occur overnight. Invest in breathable sleepwear and linens that have cooling properties. By investing in bedding designed to wick moisture away from your skin, you might be able to sleep more easily even if you suffer hot flashes through the night.
Use Balanced Breathing
Balanced, paced respiration can also help you manage your hot flash symptoms. If you start breathing in slow, rhythmic breaths when your hot flashes begin you may be able to reduce their frequency and intensity. Take a deep breath while counting steadily to five. Then, exhale for the same amount of time.
Use your stomach muscles so you're breathing deep – your rib cage shouldn't be moving. The more you practice, the easier it will become. Start breathing this way as soon as you notice a hot flash starting, and continue breathing in a controlled manner until the hot flash is over. You may even find that practicing this technique a few times a day at random can help you feel more relaxed and at ease.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
When lifestyle changes and other similar remedies don't bring enough relief, your doctor may suggest you seek hormone replacement therapy. Estrogen and progesterone are often used for this purpose.
If you had a hysterectomy, you may be prescribed just estrogen. But, if you haven't, you'll have to take the progesterone with it. Progesterone helps to keep the lining in your uterus from thickening dangerously and causing uterine or endometrial cancer.
Estrogen therapy is available in many forms, from oral medication to patches and topical creams. Work with your doctor or a hormone therapy specialist to find the lowest effective doses of these hormones to help you with your hot flash symptoms until they dissipate. You can check out treatment options at sites like http://www.genemedics.com.
Other Medical Treatments
In some cases, there are other prescription medications that can help you manage your hot flash symptoms. Some medications intended to treat seizures and other nerve conditions can help reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes. Additionally, some blood pressure medications have proven effective at providing some relief from hot flashes.
When it comes to dealing with menopause, hot flashes don't have to be that dark threat following you all day long. Talk to your doctor about these treatment options to see which ones will be the most effective at reducing the intensity and frequency of your hot flashes.