Hot flashes are one of the commonest symptoms of menopause. The severity of symptoms of hot flashes can be controlled by sleeping in cool environment, staying cool, eating soy and whole grain foods (which have phytoestrogens), exercising regularly
Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause experienced by women in the menopause age group. Menopause occurs due to loss of function of the ovaries in all women. It is an inevitable process which every woman experiences although the age of menopause can vary. So in a way you cannot prevent menopause and its associated symptoms and changes—however you control the severity of symptoms of hot flashes. In addition to this avoiding certain triggers that may bring them on more frequently or cause them to be more severe is possible.
You may be able to prevent hot flushes, by avoiding the following triggers:
- smoking and alcohol consumption
- spicy foods
- tight clothing
- heatcigarette smoke.
Measures which may help to reduce hot flushes and the severity of its symptoms include:
Stay cool: Try to keep yourself cool throughout day and night. Sleep in a cool environment—you may use an air conditioner or fan as required depending on the climate to keep your bedroom cool. Wear light cotton clothes and use cotton bed sheets. In winters dress in layers so that when you start to feel hot and uncomfortable you can remove some layers of clothes to cool yourself.
Eat soy and whole grains: Include foods which have phytoestrogens such as soy and whole grains in your diet. Menopause occurs due to decline in oestrogen levels. Phytoestrogens possibly stimulate natural hormone production, thus maintain the estrogen levels in your body and delay menopause and its associated symptoms such as hot flashes.
Practice deep breathing exercises: Do slow deep abdominal breathing (six to eight breaths per minute) regularly (both in morning and evening for about 15 minutes). You should do slow deep breathing at the onset of hot flushes as it may help to control the duration and severity of symptoms.
Exercise regularly: Exercise regularly for about 30 minutes on most days of a week. It can help to reduce symptoms of hot flashes and improve your overall health. Any exercise such as walking, swimming and cycling is considered good.
Consult for hormone therapy: Consult your doctor for hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Hormone therapy with oestrogen and progesterone is the most effective treatment for hot flashes. The hormones can help to relieve the symptoms of hot flashes by correcting the hormone levels in your body. According to current recommendations the lowest effective dose of hormone (hormones) for the shortest amount of time needed to control symptoms should be prescribed (in most cases for less than 5 years). Besides preventing hot flushes hormone therapy can help to control other symptoms of menopause, including vaginal dryness and mood disorders.
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