Hot Flashes Got You Down?

menopauseTHOUGHTFULAs a woman ages, or if her ovaries have been removed or damaged in some way, she may experience various menopause changes associated with the end of her reproductive years.  When seeking relief from hot flashes, these simple techniques may prove helpful.

How To Find Relief From Hot Flashes?

  • Be aware that the fabrics you wear or sleep on may contribute to the problem by holding in body heat or prohibiting you from cooling down when the hot flash has subsided.  Cotton is your best choice because it breathes and sheds moisture.  Nylon, spandex, polyester and satin all tend to hold the heat close to your body.
  • Hot flashes are actually found to be less intense and of shorter duration if you continue to exercise during the menopause years.
  • Cool room temperatures are, of course, very helpful.  Use of cool rags or even specially made scarves or pillow inserts can be of great value.  Conversely, hot baths and showers may have to be avoided.
  • A reduction in the number of hot flashes can be realized in many people by practicing slower, deeper breathing.  Rapid breathing may cause one to hyperventilate, resulting in too much oxygen for a while, which causes just about anyone to feel warmer than usual.
  • Studies have shown that certain chemicals and even some perfumes can worsen a hot flash, and other smells such as vanilla, lavender, and rose can help a little.  Essential oils such as ylang-ylang, geranium and clary sage serve the same purpose.
  • Cigarette smoking can set off hot flashes, especially in thin women.

Besides modifications in your environment and over-the-counter remedies, your doctor can prescribe medications other than hormone pills. Here is a brief description of several products:

  • Medicines traditionally used to treat depression have been found to reduce the frequency and duration of hot flashes.  A smaller dose of some of these medicines can produce favorable results in a matter of a few weeks.
  • Hormone replacement therapy has fallen out of favor because of increased risk of heart attack, stroke, lung blood clots, abnormal mammograms and slightly increased incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.  However, bio-identical hormones, which are custom compounds, show promise in controlling not only hot flashes, but also mood swings and sexual problems.
  • At least one blood pressure medicine, Clonidine, can be used successfully in small doses to help relieve hot flashes by relaxing blood vessels. It will likely take several weeks to take effect, but no major health risks have been noted.

Following the tips above will help you find relief from hot flashes during your menopause changes and keep in mind that they will eventually taper off and disappear.

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