Why do hot flushes occur?
Hot flushes during the menopause are caused by changes in hormonal levels. It’s thought that decreased oestrogen levels cause the body’s thermostat (hypothalamus) to become more sensitive to slight changes in body temperature. Basically the hypothalamus thinks your body is too warm, so it sweeps into action with a hot flush aiming to cool you down. It is one of the most common symptoms of the menopause.
Hot flushes treatments and remedies
Many women put up with hot flushes often laughing them off but really they are not much of a laughing matter, especially if they are interfering with you day to day life. There are ways to control the recurrence and severity of hot flushes so don’t suffer in silence. Visit your GP and if that doesn’t work, consider the many alternative remedies that are now around as they can be very effective.
Hormone Replacement Therapy is the most common way to beat hot flushes but some women feel they don’t wish to take it because of certain health risks. Your GP should be open to discussing your fears and should be able to find the best type of HRT to suit you.
If you don’t want to take HRT then take a look at alternative treatments as there is evidence they can be very effective.
Acupuncture is a non-invasive and effective way to deal with all kinds of menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes. It works by balancing the hormones. A brief course of acupuncture may help to ease troublesome menopausal symptoms, suggests a small study published in the online journal BMJ Open.
Among women dealing with moderate to severe symptoms, acupuncture resulted in a reduction in hot flushes, excess sweating, mood swings, sleep disturbances, and skin and hair problems.
The findings prompt the researchers to conclude that acupuncture offers “a realistic” treatment option for women who can’t, or don’t want to, use hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
There are many alternative remedies out there for you to try. Those that are reported to have had a positive effect in reducing hot flushes include Black Cohosh, Red Clover, Dong Quai, Ginseng. Kava and Evening Primrose Oil. All therapies involve some risks, for example they can interfere with some medicines, and they can have side effects (for example, liver damage has been reported with Black Cohosh) so before you take these ensure that you’ve spoken to your doctor about them.
How to manage hot flushes at home
- Cut out or reduce caffeine.
- Stop smoking.
- Keep the room cool and use a fan.
- If you feel a flush coming on, spray your face with cool water or use a cold gel pack.
- Wear loose layers of light cotton or silk clothes so you can easily peel layers off if you overheat.
- Have sheets on the bed, rather than a duvet, so you can remove them as you need to.
- Cut down on alcohol.
- Opt for cold or iced drinks
- Have a cooler shower or bath.
The Menopausal Godmother
If you are looking for a Menopause Support Group, The Menopausal Godmother could be exactly what you need. The Menopausal Godmother is a group of experts from diet experts, to acupuncture. This group, combined with many likeminded women currently going through the same situation as you can help support you through this journey. If you would like to subscribe today, you can do so here. I’m also @menogodmum across all social media channels if you would like to find out more information.
Emma is a multi-entrepreneur. She founded The Menopausal Godmother and Acupuncture That Works. She specialises in acupuncture for menopause & fertility and has delivered acupuncture to over 1000 women going through the menopause.