Women undergoing menopause can be overwhelmed with a series of uncomfortable symptoms. One bothersome side effect of menopause is called hot flashes. Hot flashes, also called reddening or flushes, is when the body suddenly becomes hot and it radiates into the face and neck area. The hot flash is then followed by a chill or cooling period.
Women experiencing hot flashes cannot mistake the sensation. Even though they are described differently from person to person, hot flashes generally are talked about as sudden and intense feelings, especially on the face. With the flashes can come dizziness, nausea, rapid heart rate, headache and even a fear of suffocation.
Hot flashes contribute to an overall uneasy feeling and leave a woman feeling red and sweaty. After the hot flash passes, a woman usually experiences a slight chill. Although a woman feels very hot, her core body temperature never actually rises.
Menopausal women often report having hot flashes every two or three hours and each one lasts about three minutes. They can come at inconvenient times and when you least expect it. Women are not able to control hot flashes. Interestingly enough, some research shows that women in non-Western countries actually report less hot flash during menopause than women in other countries.
One theory concerning hot flashes is that women from countries such as China and Japan have fewer hot flashes because their diet consists of higher fiber content and more soy products. It is reported that 85 percent of American women report having varying degrees of hot flashes during menopause.
This theory suggests that women, who can add higher fiber foods to their diets and foods containing phytoestrogens, may lessen the intensity of hot flashes. Adding foods such as soy products, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, fennel, celery and parsley may aid in decreasing hot flashes.
Knowing what triggers the hot flashes can help alleviate the symptoms. Some women find that being under stress may trigger a hot flash. Other known triggers include alcohol, excessive amounts of caffeine, hot or spicy foods, hot rooms or beds and hot tubs. Women experience hot flashes can fight back by wearing layers of clothing to take off when hot.
Sleeping in a cool room at night can help fight back hot flashes. Increasing physical activities such as exercise can also help halt hot flashes during menopause. In addition, changing the diet to more high fiber and lower fat foods can help lessen the frequency and intensity of hot flashes, as well as drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day.
Treatment for Severe Hot Flashes
If natural remedies are not working and the episodes become debilitating, some women choose to take hormone replacement therapy. Replacement therapy can be very effective in treating menopausal side effects including hot flashes and night sweats.
HRT helps the body replace natural hormones that are produced by the ovaries. During menopause, the ovaries begin to produce less of these hormones and they are lost. HRT uses synthetic hormones to match those produced by the ovaries.