Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause and can be present for a short or extended period of time. Hot flashes can feel like a quick feeling of heat, coupled with a red flushed face and sweating. They are caused when blood vessels near the surface of the skin dilate to cool off. Hot flashes typically become less severe as time passes. Night sweats are hot flashes that occur at night while sleeping.
Preventing Hot Flashes
While there may be no way to avoid hot flashes altogether, there are ways to prevent or reduce the frequency and severity of them, including non-prescription and prescription medication methods.
The most effective non-prescription way to prevent hot flashes is to try and keep your body cool. Wear light, breathable cotton clothing and stay out of the heat as much as possible. Reducing or avoiding things such as caffeine, alcohol and stress, may also prevent the on set of hot flashes. At night, lowering the temperature in the bedroom, using fans to blow cool air or sleeping with a lightweight sheet will also help keep hot flashes at bay while you sleep.
Other ways that have proven to help reduce hot flashes are deep breathing when a hot flash begins and a healthy diet and exercise regime. Vitamin B complex and vitamin E have also been shown to reduce the severity of hot flashes.
If non-prescription solutions fail to provide adequate relief from hot flashes, there are some ways to get relief through prescription medication.
One such way is through hormone replacement therapy (HRT). During menopause, hormone levels fall causing the uncomfortable symptoms many women experience. HRT uses artificial female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, to replace the hormones the body is losing. Hormone Replacement Therapy can also counteract some of the other symptoms of menopause such as vaginal dryness, mood disorders and osteoporosis. Unfortunately, HRT is not a long-term solution and it is recommended for no longer than 5 years. Menopause symptoms can return upon stopping therapy. The short-term side affects of HRT can include increased risk of blot clots and gallbladder inflammation.
If hormone replacement therapy is not a good fit, other prescription medication may be able to relieve menopausal symptoms.
As always, it is important to consult with your doctor and work together to find the right solution for you.