During the summer, many women going through menopause have to battle not only the warm weather, but also their hot flashes. This can be a frustrating and uncomfortable scenario that may leave many women wishing for the summer season to pass quickly. Since we can’t control the seasons, we decided to come up with some helpful tips for managing hot flashes in hot weather instead.
Hot flashes are marked by sudden feelings of warmth, which may cause you to feel flushed, hot, sweaty, and then often chilled. While a variety of hormonal conditions can cause hot flashes, most often they are the result of menopause, when hormone levels naturally begin to decline. The good news is there are ways to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes through natural methods. See the suggestions below to help stay cool all summer long.
Identifying what triggers your hot flashes is the first step in avoiding them. This may seem like common sense, but it’s not as easy as it sounds! The best way to begin to figure out what is triggering your hot flashes is to keep a journal for a couple of weeks. Write down when they occurred, what you were doing before they occurred, and how long it lasted. Common triggers include:
- Alcohol (especially before bed)
- Stress and anger
- Diet pills
- Spicy foods
Women at higher risk for experiencing hot flashes include women who:
- Are physically inactive
- Are underweight or overweight
- Have experienced surgical menopause
- Have been treated with Tamoxifen or who have gone through chemotherapy
A lot can be said for diet and its role in supporting hormone balance. A whole foods diet, of course, is the place to start; that’s probably no surprise. Making sure you are getting the right foods to support menopause, however, requires a little more specificity. There are several foods that are particularly helpful for minimizing hot flashes. Ideal foods for women with no history of estrogen dominance include foods called phytoestrogens, which can actually mimic estrogen in the body. Please note, these foods are NOT recommended for women who are/have been estrogen dominant. They include:
- Soy (preferably organic/non-GMO) including:
- Soy milk
- Soy protein powder
- Flax seed
Other foods that will help keep you feeling cool and balanced this summer include abundant raw vegetables, fresh fruit and lots of water. Coconut water is especially hydrating, and helps to promote electrolyte balance within the body. If you know you’re going to be in hot weather, plan ahead and pack a thermos with ice water to help keep you cool. Limiting hot or spicy foods can also be helpful, as spicy foods are “warming” to the body, and may promote or trigger a hot flash.
Studies have shown that deep breathing can dramatically decrease the frequency of hot flashes, and can help make the hot flashes that do occur shorter and milder.
Dr. Oz says:
If you practice deep breathing exercises (paced breathing) regularly you can help control the number and severity of hot flashes. Here’s how to do it. Find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted. Slowly breathe in for five seconds and then let it out for five seconds. Practice this daily for at least 15 minutes until you get the hang of it. Then use the paced breathing exercise as soon as you feel a hot flash coming on. If you use this regularly you may see the number of hot flashes cut in half. Yoga and/or Pilates can also be helpful in helping you become more aware of your breath. Plus, they provide the added bonus of building and toning muscles, to create a leaner, stronger you.
Dress the Part
The right clothes can make all of the difference when it comes to staying cool while going through menopause. Cotton can help keep you cool in warm weather. You might also consider wearing clothing made from moisture wicking material to help keep you dry if a hot flash does occur. In cooler weather, be sure to dress in layers, so that you can take some clothes off before you get too hot.
Natural wool bedding can keep you cooler and wick away moisture better that down or synthetic bedding. You can find more information on wool bedding at Organic Wool Duvet. You might also consider investing in a hand held electric fan to carry around with you on hot days, to ensure you’ll always have a cool breeze to keep your body temperature down.
Keep Your Body Moving
Exercise is an important part of a hot flash management plan. Exercise is helpful for managing hot flashes in large part because it raises endorphin levels, which drop during a hot flash. It also promotes healthy circulation and strong muscles and bones.
Providing your body with the additional supplements it needs can go a long way in relieving hot flashes. We suggest the following supplements for menopausal women experiencing hot flashes:
ProFema This multivitamin for women provides a complete array of vitamins and minerals. It is also a perfect bone support system, with an ideal balance of calcium and magnesium, and with every other nutrient needed for strong bones. It is a complete green food complex, so that you’ll have more energy than you have had in years. And, of course, it provides the isoflavones and herbs you need to relieve your menopause related discomforts NOW. *
Progesta-Care Plus Women in their perimenopausal and menopausal years may find great relief from menopausal symptoms including hot flashes with progesterone and phytoestrogens. Progesta-Care PLUS contains natural bio identical progesterone and phytoestrogens for those who need both progesterone and estrogen supplementation.*
Progesta-Care Natural progesterone is used to maintain a normal level of progesterone and a balanced ratio of estrogen to progesterone. Natural USP progesterone is biologically identical to the hormone women produce, and offers an alternative to taking synthetic hormones. Additionally, it protects against the undesirable side effects of excess estrogen.
Almased Complete Protein Powder Almased contains pure soybean protein, skim milk yogurt powder and honey. From the basic ingredients in Almased to the way it is produced, every step ensures that the body will be able to absorb and use the protein.*
*Please note, ProFema, Progesta-Care Plus and Almased are not recommended for women who are estrogen dominant or who have a history of estrogen dominance. Staying cool this summer is totally achievable. Plan ahead, eat smart, dress the part, and supplement where needed. We may not be able to control the weather, but we can certainly take steps to ensure we are comfortable in it! Happy summer!