For maturing women, the onset of menopause is a definitive change signaling their bodies are moving into a new chapter of life.
Menopause, a natural biological process, occurs 12 months after a woman’s last menstrual period and marks the end of menstrual cycles. Menopause can happen to women in their 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States. And while menopause ends fertility, most women stay healthy, vital and sexual.
Still, going through menopause can disrupt sleep, lower energy and even trigger anxiety or feelings of sadness and loss. Some of the most troubling physical symptoms of menopause include hot flashes and night sweats.
The degree to which women experience hot flashes varies greatly. And while hot flashes can’t be completely eliminated, they can be made more manageable with some lifestyle changes.
- Keep it cool: Just a minor increase in the body's core temperature can trigger hot flashes. Try dressing in layers so that clothing can easily be removed when you feel warm. If possible, lower the temperature of your bedroom at night. Open windows or use a fan or air conditioner. If you feel a hot flash coming on, sip a cold drink.
- Monitor food and drinks: Many foods and beverages you consumer can set off hot flashes.Hot and spicy foods, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol can trigger hot flashes.Try eliminatiing them altogether from your diet or at least limiting your intake of them.
- Don't smoke:.Smoking is linked to increased hot flashes. By not smoking, you may reduce hot flashes, as well as your risk of many serious health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke and cancer.
- Shed some pounds: If you're overweight losing weight might help decrease hot flashes.
- Do some relaxing: Some women find relief from hot flashes through meditation and other stress-reducing techniques. Even if these approaches don't reduce your hot flashes, they may provide other benefits, such as helping with sleep disturbances that often occur with menopause.
There are also some natural remedies and supplements that have also been purported to reduce hot flashes during menopause. While some don’t have scientific studies associated with them, there is some anecdotal evidence that women taking them had success in reducing hot flashes. They include Black Cohosh, Red Clover, Dong Quai, Ginseng, Evening Primrose Oil, and Kava.