Most women experience
hot flashes at some point before or after
menopause, when their
estrogen levels are declining. While some women have
few to no hot flashes, others have them numerous times each day. If hot flashes
are disrupting your sleep or daily life, you are no doubt looking for relief.
Fortunately, you have a number of self-care and medical treatment options that
can help you manage your symptoms.
- No matter how disruptive and frustrating they
may be, hot flashes are not a sign of a medical problem. They are a normal
response to natural hormonal changes in your body. Hot flashes usually subside
after the first or second year following menopause, when estrogen levels
stabilize at a low level.
- Tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, and stress tend to make hot
flashes worse. By avoiding these risk factors, exercising regularly, and eating
well, you can prevent or reduce hot flashes.
- The body-mind
connection is a powerful element of hot flashes and emotional symptoms.
Rhythmic breathing exercises (paced respiration), which help you meditate and
relax, may reduce your hot flashes.
- Treatments that may either
reduce or stop moderate to severe hot flashes include short-term, low-dose
estrogen (hormone therapy), certain antidepressant and blood
pressure medicines, and the herb black cohosh.
How can I manage hot flashes?