Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms that can occur during menopause. Most women find them extremely unpleasant, because they can develop both an intense heat in the body and flow through the body as a cold wave. When they occur alternately, i.e. when the intense outbreak of sweat is followed by a cold shower, they are particularly stressful for those affected. The endocrine (hormone-producing) system is mainly involved in these fluctuations. At this point, we would like to show you some measures that will make it easier for you to experience the menopause.
Autor: Dr. med. W. Tönnes
The first phase of menopause
Menopause is divided into three stages. Pre-menopause marks the beginning of a slow change in hormone balance. It is manifested by irregular and very fluctuating menstrual periods, which may temporarily stop altogether and are often accompanied by slight emotional fluctuations.
The onset of hormonal changes also alters the emotional feelings of some women. It is not uncommon for women to rethink their lives during this phase and sometimes even completely turn them upside down.
The second phase is the most intense
In the second phase, ovulation is persistently absent, because by this time all the eggs in the ovaries have been used up. At the same time, estrogen and progesterone production rapidly decreases. Overall, a hormonal imbalance takes place that has a great influence on physical and psychological well-being.
The hormonal fluctuations literally put those affected into a roller coaster of emotions. In this phase, there is an increase in strong and sometimes prolonged hot flashes, sleep disturbances and intense mood swings, even depression.
Phase three heralds the end of menopause
In the third and final stage of menopause, the body has adapted to the changed hormonal situation and the menopausal symptoms gradually subside.
The duration of the entire menopause depends on various circumstances and is usually between 10 and 15 years.
Measures to reduce hot flashes
Certainly, the unpleasant side effects that many women suffer from during menopause cannot always be completely eliminated. However, it is certainly possible to reduce the length and intensity of the symptoms in a natural way, so that those affected can cope much better with the changed situation.
In the following, we present some measures that you will certainly benefit from implementing.
Menopause is not a disease
Menopause is not a disease, but a hormonal phase of change in a woman’s life, which can be experienced more or less intensively. An affirmative, optimistic attitude towards this time is very advantageous, as it automatically has a positive effect on how you feel.
With the right attitude, the physical changes of menopause can be harmonized in a clearly noticeable way. Therefore, welcome this new stage of life and use it to discover yourself in a completely new way.
You should avoid stressful situations as much as possible, because they can significantly increase hot flashes. However, this is often not possible in everyday life. Therefore, it is all the more important to counteract stress in other ways. Here, relaxation methods such as autogenic training, meditation, yoga, etc. are primarily suitable. Hormone yoga in particular is a special method that can balance the endocrine hormone system and thus positively influence various menopausal symptoms.
Prepare for hot flashes at night
Especially at night, many women are afflicted by intense sweats. As long as these have not yet regulated themselves, you should take the following recommendations to heart:
- Air your bedroom well before going to bed.
- The room temperature should be between 17°C and 18°C.
- Sleep between two sheets, which you can change quickly if necessary, if they are sweaty.
- Wear cotton t-shirts at night and put 3 changes of shirts right by your bed so you don’t have to get up to change.
Work up a sweat with sports
If you exercise regularly and work up a sweat, chances are that your hot flashes will diminish or even disappear. However, if you haven’t done much exercise so far, you should definitely take things slowly so that you don’t overexert yourself right away.
You can also benefit greatly from sauna sessions or a steam bath. And by the way, all 3 activities (sports, sauna, steam bath) also have very positive effects on your sleep patterns at the same time.
Benefit from alternating showers
Your day should start with an alternating shower (hot and cold water alternately). Alternating foot baths in the evening can also be very helpful. For this purpose, the feet are bathed alternately in a tub of warm water and in a tub of cold water. Throughout the day, you can also alternate between hot and cold water jets over your upper arms. Generally, the alternating shower procedure should end with the cold application.
Try to identify triggering factors
Some foods and food additives can cause the body to initiate an increased stress response. This is especially the case for those women who are prone to hot flashes. Common triggers include alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, spicy foods, peanuts, processed foods, pasteurized dairy products and chocolate.
If you can’t identify which factors trigger your hot flashes, it’s a good idea to start a diary. Write down everything you eat or drink and what kind of stress you were exposed to each day. Later, in review, you can find out which potential triggering factors you encountered before the hot flashes and specifically eliminate these influences.
Deacidify your body
During menstrual bleeding, a woman’s body can regularly rid itself of existing acids. Since it lacks this possibility from the beginning of menopause, the body tries to eliminate the acids through the skin in the form of hot flashes and sweating. Therefore, it is particularly important in this phase of life to eat a diet that is as low in acid as possible or contains an excess of alkaline substances. In addition, an intensive deacidification cure is highly recommended. You will quickly notice that the reduction of acids in the body brings a simultaneous weakening of menopausal symptoms.
Other natural remedies for hot flashes
Below we list some natural helps that can be of great help to you with hot flashes.
Sage tea relieves hot flashes
Drinking sage tea during menopause provides peace of mind, strengthens the nerves and has an antiperspirant effect (1). To get the full benefit of the antiperspirant effect, 2 cups should be drunk daily, sipped throughout the day. As an alternative to tea, an extract can also be taken in capsule form or as a liquid tincture.
Red clover relieves hot flashes
Isoflavones are secondary plant substances that are very similar to estrogens due to their chemical structure. The effect of these substances is also comparable to that of estrogen. Red clover seems to contain a particularly effective composition of four different isoflavones, which is why it can apparently regulate women’s hormone balance, which is in upheaval. For this reason, red clover is often recommended as a dietary supplement for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
Although science is not completely agreed on whether red clover really helps against menopausal symptoms, some studies as well as various reports from women confirm its positive effects against hot flashes (2).
Pomegranate relieves menopausal symptoms
The seeds of the pomegranate also contain so-called phytoestrogens, which are apparently responsible for the fact that pomegranate seed oil can help many women alleviate their menopausal symptoms. While in scientific studies the effect of pomegranate seed oil against hot flashes was rather low, a significant improvement of sleep due to pomegranate seed oil could be observed (3). Pomegranate seed oil is also commercially available as a dietary supplement in capsule form.
Wild yam relieves hot flashes
This root really has it all. It exhibits a variety of health-promoting effects due to its unique complex of active ingredients. With regard to menopausal symptoms, it has a strong harmonizing and balancing effect. Therefore, a significant decrease in hot flashes is often noticeable after only a short period of use. It also shows its strikingly pleasant, balancing effect in the psychological sphere (4).
And another sensational ability should be mentioned in this context: The substances from wild yam root can help the body increase bone density (5). If these are not sufficient arguments to test this root in the form of a food supplement.
Note on health topics
This information is provided in good faith. It is intended exclusively for interested parties and for further education and is in no way to be understood as diagnostic or therapeutic instructions. We accept no liability for damages of any kind arising directly or indirectly from the use of the information. In case of suspected illnesses, please consult your doctor.
(1) Bommer S et al, “First time proof of sage`s tolerability and efficacy in menopausal women with hot flushes.” Adv Ther. 2011 Jun;28(6):490-500. (First time proof of sage`s tolerability and efficacy in menopausal women with hot flushes).
(2) Barentsen R. “Red clover isoflavones and menopausal health.” J Br Menopause Soc. 2004 Mar;10 Suppl 1:4-7. (Red clover isoflavones and menopausal symptoms.)
(3) Auerbach L et al, “Pomegranate seed oil in women with menopausal symptoms: a prospective randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded trial.” Menopause. 2012 Apr;19(4):426-32. (Pomegranate seed oil in women with menopausal symptoms: a prospective randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial).
(4) Wu WH et al, “Estrogenic effect of yam ingestion in healthy postmenopausal women.” J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Aug;24(4):235-43. (Estrogenic effect of ingested yam in healthy postmenopausal women.)
(5) Alcantara EH et al, “Diosgenin stimulates osteogenic activity by increasing bone matrix protein synthesis and bone-specific transcription factor Runx2 in osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells.” J Nutr Biochem. 2011 Nov;22(11):1055-63. (Diosgenin stimulates osteogenic activity by increasing bone matrix protein synthesis and bone-specific transcription factor Runx2 in osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells).