Menopause, and all of its aggravating symptoms, is a fact of life that all women must face at some point.
Two of the most commonly noted of these aggravating and uncomfortable symptoms are night sweats and hot flashes, affecting about 3/4 of all women in perimenopause and lingering well into menopause in some cases.
These intense flashes of heat can appear suddenly and aren’t caused by external sources. If you’re curious as to whether you are having true hot flashes, here are a few things you may experience:
- Your skin warms suddenly
- Your fingers may tingle
- Your face may become red or flushed
- You may sweat, particularly in the upper body
- Your heartbeat is faster than normal
What triggers hot flashes?
Triggers for hot flashes tend to vary from woman to woman, but a few common triggers are:
- Stress or anxiety
- Drinking alcohol or caffeinated products
- Wearing clothing that is tight
- Consuming spicy foods
- Smoking or being exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke
Begin recording your symptoms in a journal, and note what you are feeling, eating, doing, drinking, and wearing when each hot flash starts. This may help you determine a pattern so that you can avoid specific triggers in the future.
Ways to combat hot flashes
Here are a few simple tools and techniques used by some women, in order to manage hot flashes and find some relief:
- Wear layers so you can adjust your clothing based on how you feel
- Take sips of ice water at the onset of a hot flash
- Keep your thermostat set between 60 and 67 degrees (the optimal temperature for sleeping well, according to the National Sleep Foundation)
- Sleep in cotton clothes and use cotton linens
- Keep an ice pack by your bed
These healthy lifestyle choices can also help reduce hot flashes and their severity, as well as reduce your risk of osteoporosis and heart disease:
- Quit smoking
- Keep a regular exercise routine
- Maintain a diet that is well-balanced and portion controlled
Keep in mind that your reactions to hot flash treatments will be as unique as your body, so if one method doesn’t work for you, a different method just might. Your WISH physician can recommend additional ways to manage symptoms of hot flashes if these common tools do not help.
Remember, before making any changes to your diet or fitness, always consult your physician.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to take the place of the doctor-patient relationship and any email is not appropriate for emergency care. To schedule an appointment, please call your doctor's primary office, listed on our Locations page. In case of emergency, we are available 24 hours a day.