About Hot Flashes

Hot Flashes & What to do about them

Hot flashes are common symptoms of perimenopause and menopause that can hit at any time, day or night. While hot flashes can be highly uncomfortable, they are not at all life-threatening.

What Is A Hot Flash?About Hot Flashes

A hot flash, also called a hot flush, is a sudden and momentary sensation of heat surging through the body. It may be accompanied by sweating or a red, flushed face.  No one is really sure what causes hot flashes, but they may be linked to changes in circulation during menopause. Hot flashes happen when blood vessels on the skin’s surface dilate in order to cool, causing the face to flush and turn red. Some women sweat, which helps their body to cool; or they might get chills or a rapid heart beat. Some experience hot flashes at night. These “night sweats” are particularly uncomfortable, and they can interfere with your ability to sleep.

Every woman experiences hot flashes differently.  Some women only get hot flashes for a short period of time during menopause. Others endure them for a much longer period of time. Some women may even continue to suffer through hot flashes for their entire lives. But for most women, hot flashes decrease over time and eventually stop as they age.

Avoiding Hot FlashesAbout Hot Flashes

It is unlikely that you’ll be able to completely get rid of hot flashes or night sweats, but there are some things that may trigger hot flashes or make them worse.  When possible, try to avoid or cut down on the following things:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Clothing that is too tight
  • Stress
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Hot weather
  • Spicy foods

Any of these may induce a hot flash or can make hot flashes worse.  Avoid as many of these things as you can while undergoing menopause to reduce the frequency and severity of the hot flashes.

Ways to Reduce the Severity of Hot Flashes

Some of the following tips aim to, at the very least, trying to keep hot flashes from becoming too uncomfortable and intense:

  • Stay cool – Keep the temperature in your home cool, particularly at night: keep a fan in the bedroom to help you stay cool while you sleep.
  • Exercise – Get plenty of exercise to help get your blood flowing; swim, jog, walk,
    or ride a bike.
  • Cooling pillows – These pillows help lower your temperature while you sleep.

Menopause Overview

An Overview of Menopause

Menopause is an inevitable stage of a woman’s life, where her reproductive cycles of menstruation come to an end. A woman’s body undergoes numerous changes, both as menopause nears, and even after the transition is over.

Two Kinds of Menopause

Menopause OverviewThe ovaries hold a lifetime supply of eggs which each woman has from the day she is born. Ovaries also produce estrogen and progesterone, which regulate her ovulation and menstrual cycles.

Women experience two different kinds of menopause: natural menopause or premature menopause. By the time a woman reaches her forties, her body naturally starts changing: her menstrual cycles diminish, and she experiences natural menopause.

But if, because of either surgical procedures such as a hysterectomy, or ovarian damage from or toward cancer treatment, premature menopause can occur before a woman reaches her forties.

Natural Menopause

Unless there are unnatural or medical circumstances, menopause is a natural, gradual process. The progression of menopause occurs in three phases:

Perimenopause begins several years before the actual onset of menopause, during which estrogen production is gradually reduced. As a woman gets closer to menopause, however, her estrogen levels start decreasing more quickly. When menopause finally hits, her ovaries stop releasing eggs. For many women, there will be an increase in the notorious hot flashes as well as other physical symptoms.

After menopause, in the postmenopausal period, women are more at risk for a variety of health issues due to their lack of estrogen. However, menopausal symptoms like hot flashes will start to diminish by this time.

Signs of Menopause

Menopause OverviewHot flashes are one of the most common menopause symptoms, caused by an uncontrollable wave of heat that overwhelms the body, even when it is freezing. The severity of these hot flashes varies from woman to woman. In addition to hot flashes, some women experience irregular periods, or intermittent months where she may miss her period. Other symptoms include mood swings, insomnia, irritability, depression, or exhaustion.

Some women endure physiological symptoms such as headaches, achy and painful muscles and joints, or heart palpitations. A reduced sex drive and vaginal dryness are also problems that many women suffer. When a woman starts to experience these changes in her body, she can check with her doctor to confirm whether menopause is the cause by taking a blood test to measure the follicle stimulating hormone or FSH level.

In addition, the doctor will conduct a physical examination, including performing a pap test and vaginal assessment, to corroborate the lab results and confirm that she is indeed going through menopause, and at which stage she is in the process.

Postmenopausal Complications

Health related complications associated with a lack of estrogen can include osteoporosis, heart disease, declining muscle tone, aging skin, changes in vision, and bowel and bladder issues. Preventative treatments are available to lower the risk and severity of these symptoms.

Menopause Supplements

Menopause Supplements

Menopause is a time of many changes in a woman’s life. Her body is transitioning between her fertile and infertile stages, which can wreak physical and emotional havoc, producing symptoms sometimes challenging to cope with. The good news is that there are a number of natural supplements that alleviate these symptoms, or at least keep them to a manageable level. This article lists a number of all-natural supplements and herbs known to help relieve the various symptoms of menopause.

Black Cohosh

Menopause SupplementsOne of the more popular natural remedies for menopause symptoms, widely used in the United States, is black cohosh. A number of studies comparing this herb to a placebo have shown that it can be effective at ending the inevitable and aggravating hot flashes, which can interfere with a menopausal women’s ability to function. Use with caution, though, as it may be harmful to women with liver problems.

Flax Seed

Another complaint that many menopausal women have is night sweats. A natural cure for this symptom is flax seed, which can be effective in helping balance the hormones which can cause night sweats. However, not every woman who takes flax seed actually sees results. So it is not very commonly recommended, even though it does show positive results in a large number of cases.


Bone deterioration is another common symptom of menopause. This can lead to serious problems if nothing is done to prevent bone loss. Women less than 51 years should take 1,000mg of calcium a day. Women 51 and older should increase their daily dosage of calcium to 1200mg. Doctors often recommend that you divide this total daily dose into multiple smaller ones taken throughout the day for maximum effect.

Vitamin D

This vitamin is equally important for women’s health. Make sure to take Vitamin D supplements in a sufficient dose, or spend at least fifteen minutes in sunlight each day.

Red Clover and Wild Yam

Menopause SupplementsRed clover is a frequently used, albeit less effective, treatment for menopause symptoms. This plant allegedly contains estrogen, which is a critical hormone lost during menopause. However, there is no consensus on these claims.  Another natural remedy believed to balance female hormones is the wild yam.

Ginseng and St. John’s Wort

Both of these supplements claim to alleviate mood swings, which are another common complaint of women undergoing menopause: a complaint for both the bothered woman as well as the people close to her. Ginseng and St. John’s Wort can be combined with the black cohosh mentioned earlier.

There are a number of other potential solutions and supplements to help make menopause more bearable. Ask your doctor and research your options to find the best choice for you.

Menopause Symptoms

Menopause Symptoms

There are far more symptoms of menopause than you may be aware of.  It’s not only about hot flashes and the end of your menstrual period. Here are a few of the many other symptoms that can accompany menopause:

Menopause SymptomsLack of libido: Because of the hormonal imbalance that can occur during menopause, many women find they lose interest in sex altogether.

Vaginal Dryness: When this happens, it can cause discomfort.  There are, however, over-the-counter lubricants that can help lubricate you during sex if necessary.

Moodiness: You can be cheerful one moment and bursting into tears the next. This is again due to hormonal imbalances. Mood swings are treatable, but check with your doctor first to ensure the symptoms are due to the menopause and not some other underlying condition.

Fatigue: Feeling weak, tired, and as though all your energy is sapped is common among women going through menopause. Ask your doctor about options for treating fatigue caused by the menopause.

Sleep Disorders: All the changes happening in your body can also occasionally cause you to have difficulty sleeping, and you may have problems falling or staying asleep.

Difficulty concentrating: Menopause can also cause us to lose focus on completing tasks, or create an inability to concentrate for a long period of time.

Dizziness: In certain cases, the hormonal imbalances may cause you to feel dizzy or lightheaded. While this is a normal symptom of menopause, it should be handled with caution.

Weight gain:  You may find yourself putting on a few extra pounds during menopause. Regular exercise can help you keep off any weight you might find yourself gaining.

Brittle fingernails: Hormonal changes during menopause may cause your fingernails to become brittle and to break off easier than they did formerly.Menopause Symptoms

Depression: Women undergoing menopause often struggle with spells of depression. This can be brought on by the hormonal imbalances in your body. Check with your doctor if you find yourself becoming depressed.

Irritability: For some women, irritability is a normal part of menopause.  Not everyone is affected by it, however; but be aware that it can happen.

Breast soreness: Women undergoing menopause sometimes find that their breasts are more tender than usual, where even a slight touch can feel painful or uncomfortable.

Women going through menopause can experience all or none of the symptoms listed here, but you should be aware of them. If you do find yourself experiencing any one of these symptoms, call your doctor about options that can help you maintain equilibrium and go through this period in your life with less discomfort and stress.

Perimenopause Treatment

Treatments for Perimenopause


Perimenopause, also called menopausal transition, is the stage in a woman’s life where her body makes changes from regular ovulation and menstruation cycles to permanent infertility. Perimenopause can occur at many different ages, but perimenopause most commonly occurs when women reach their 40s.  Menstrual periods no longer follow a regular cycle; they may become irregular, they can get shorter or longer, or become heavier or lighter, while the interval between periods typically grows longer.  Most women start to experience vaginal dryness, hot flashes, a lower sex drive, or insomnia. Once a woman has gone an entire twelve month period with no menstrual cycle, she has reached full menopause.

Treatment Options

There are treatment options available for perimenopause, which should help relieve many of the symptoms you may be experiencing. If you need help regulating your menses, or are experiencing perimenopausal symptoms such as hot flashes or vaginal dryness, your doctor may prescribe oral contraception to help you get through perimenopause.  If you do not want or cannot use birth control pills, consider progestin therapy instead, which can help regulate your periods. Progestin can help relieve problems such as extremely heavy bleeding.

Endometrial ablation is another option for women suffering through perimenopause. This is a procedure where a surgeon destroys the uterine lining with a laser; the result is to decrease or permanently cease your menstrual cycle. Endometrial ablation can offer relief to certain women who endure heavy periods. This is a surgical procedure, however, and you should discuss the risks of this procedure thoroughly with your doctor before considering it.

Help Yourself

Perimenopause TreatmentThere are things you can do on your own that alleviate some of perimenopause’s symptoms. Eat a healthier diet than you may have before. A diet high in calcium and fiber can help regulate your body and strengthen your bones. As women get older they should start taking vitamin supplements to ensure they are getting the nutrients that their body may not be getting through diet alone.

Finally, reduce your intake of alcohol and caffeine; if you are a smoker, now is a good time to stop. Exercising regularly and staying in shape can keep you from gaining excess weight. It also can help you sleep better, as well as preserve your bones and improve your mood. Exercise for at least a half hour each day to keep your body in top condition and to avoid muscle strains and aching joints.

Lowering your stress can also decrease the symptoms of perimenopause.  There are numerous ways to reduce the physical and emotional stress that can come with perimenopause: yoga, meditation, and deep breathing are all excellent practices to incorporate into your daily routine.