Put Out Hot-Flash Fires Naturally
Going through menopause? These five smart tips can cool your path.
Perhaps the most common complaints women have about menopause revolve around the dreaded hot flashes—waves of heat that start in the chest and spread to the neck and head, leaving you sweaty, hot, flushed, irritable, and uncomfortable. But these tips can help you get a handle and keep your cool.
Turn to black cohosh. Studies in menopausal women show that black cohosh alleviates symptoms of hot flashes. But it doesn’t stop there—it can also help conquer night sweats, vaginal dryness, sleep disturbances, nervousness, irritability, and depression. Scientists have yet to determine precisely how black cohosh works, but apparently it helps balance estrogen levels. If you are currently taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and would like to switch to black cohosh, talk to a health care practitioner.
Sample more soy. Incorporating more soy foods into your diet may be quite helpful for overcoming hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. The advantage of soy, which is bursting with phytoestrogens, is its wide availability. Your best bet is to shoot for one to two servings a day (the amount found in a typical Asian diet). You’re likely to find a wide array of soy foods at your grocery store, including edamame, tofu, and miso. You may also want to ask your doctor about soy-based forms of HRT.
Move toward relief. Exercise reduces the occurrence of hot flashes and night sweats, helps you sleep, keeps bones strong, and maintains heart health. There’s just one problem that may be crossing your mind: I don’t want to sweat more! What to do? Try a low-sweat form of exercise such as swimming, yoga, or Pilates.
Take a breather. In some women, deep belly breathing alone can help reduce the severity of a hot flash. To give it a try, lie on your back with your hands on your abdomen. Imagine that your abdomen is a balloon that you fill with air as you inhale and deflate as you exhale. Repeat this six to eight times a minute whenever you experience hot flashes.
Imagine yourself naked. Sometimes, the power of positive thinking tops all other forms of intervention. Take a few long, deep breaths and imagine yourself naked, rolling gently through cold mountain snow. If all else fails, it’s worth a shot.
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