Hot flashes and night sweats can be debilitating. More than 80 percent of women are affected by hot flashes at some point. They may start long before you stop menstruating and continue for several years afterward. Experts don’t know for sure what causes them, but it’s thought that a lack of estrogen may affect the hypothalamus — the region of the brain that controls body temperature.
The frequency, duration, and intensity of hot flashes vary from one person to another. You may get several a day or be plagued constantly, day and night. They may last from a few seconds to several minutes. (The average is four minutes.) As well as the sudden rush of heat, you may experience a racing heart, dizziness, anxiety, and irritability.
Night sweats are severe versions of hot flashes that can cause you to wake up drenched in perspiration. You may even have to change your pajamas and sheets.
If you’re woken up this way, night after night, you’re bound to feel exhausted. Worse, because physical contact with a partner can trigger a hot flash, many women avoid it, which can lead to feelings of rejection and relationship problems. Here are some ways to feel better fast.
Cooling Your Hot Flashes
- Don’t be embarrassed by a hot flash.
- The moment you feel one coming on, stop what you’re doing. Take several slow, deep breaths and try to relax. This may help reduce the severity of the hot flash.
- If possible, drink a glass of cold water and sit calmly until it passes.
- Wear layers that you can easily take off when you feel yourself getting hot. Clothes made of natural fibers, such as cotton, help your skin breathe.
- Keep your bedroom cool at night and put a fan, wet wipes, and a cold drink by your bed.
- Use cotton bedlinens and pajamas.
- Eat small, frequent meals. The heat generated by digesting a large meal can sometimes bring on a hot flash.
- Exercise regularly. Being in good shape reduces your propensity to sweat and reduces hot flashes.
- Don’t smoke. Research shows it increases the risk of overheating.
- Include plenty of phytoestrogens in your diet. (
- Try scientifically based supplements, like Promensil and Femmenessence MacaPause, which have been shown to reduce or even eliminate hot flashes and night sweats.
Did You Know?
It’s likely the hot surges you experience are the result of your brain trying to kick-start your ovaries into producing estrogen. Ovarian function does not decline in a straight line, which means that estrogen levels — and the severity of hot flashes — can fluctuate.
Maryon Stewart is the author of Manage Your Menopause Naturally and 27 other books. A world-renowned healthcare expert, she has helped tens of thousands of women around the world overcome PMS and menopause symptoms without using drugs or hormones. Visit her online at http://www.maryonstewart.com/book.