Every year in the U.S., millions of women enter menopause — and as many as 80% suffer from hot flashes that often go hand-in-hand with a decline in estrogen. Hot flashes occur when the blood vessels near the surface of your skin suddenly dilate, resulting in feelings of warmth, typically accompanied by sweating. Although hot flashes are a regular part of menopause for most women, there are a few simple things you can do to find relief for your discomfort. Along with well-woman visits and patient-centered menopause care, the team at Dekalb Women’s Specialists offers the following five tips to help you keep your cool the next time you feel a hot flash coming on.
Hot flashes aren’t just uncomfortable — they’re unpredictable, too. Dressing in layers — a sweater on top of a short-sleeved shirt, for instance — it’s easy to shed a layer to help regulate your temperature and keep your cool. You can also look for clothes that wick away moisture to help eliminate perspiration-related problems.
Hormone fluctuations may be the root cause of hot flashes, but your flashes can also be triggered by the foods and drinks you consume. Spicy foods are a big culprit for many people — not too surprising, since these foods can cause flushing all on their own in many people. If you find your penchant for spicy foods is causing hot flashes, cutting back could provide you with some major relief.
Of course, spices aren’t the only thing you need to look out for. Other foods or ingredients can also trigger hot flashes, including caffeine and alcohol. If you find yourself getting flushed after a meal or snack, keeping a food diary is one way to identify your triggers so you can avoid them.
Sometimes, something as simple as applying a cool washcloth or ice pack to your forehead or neck can be enough to short-circuit your hot flash and bring much-needed relief. Keep a pitcher of water and a gel eye pack in your refrigerator or freezer for a quick cool-down.
If hot flashes happen at night, invest in a pillow or mattress topper designed to distribute body heat and keep you cool. Turn up the air conditioning before bed or aim a fan at your bed to set the stage for a good night’s sleep.
For most people, reducing stress is a task that’s usually a lot easier said than done. Yet research shows anxiety and stress can trigger hot flashes, which means learning stress management techniques could help reduce your symptoms. Simple techniques, like deep breathing exercises or visualization techniques, can help you reduce anxiety no matter where a hot flash strikes — at work, at home, or even in your car.
When you enter menopause, your body produces a lot less estrogen than it used to. That dramatic decline in hormones is what’s behind hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. Hormone therapy replaces some of the estrogen your body is no longer producing.
Our team uses bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), using hormone replacement medicines designed to mimic the hormones your body produces naturally. As a result, BHRT is very well tolerated and not associated with the side effects that can occur with traditional hormone therapy.
Menopause is a natural part of aging for every woman — but that doesn’t mean you need to suffer from its symptoms. With offices in Decatur, Lithonia, and Stone Mountain, Georgia, Dekalb Women’s Specialists is ready to help women lead healthier lives at every stage of life. To learn how to manage your menopause symptoms, call the office or book an appointment online today.