In 2002 there was a surge in women looking for natural remedies for hot flashes. This was brought on by the Women’s Health Initiative study. The results of this study strongly suggested that conventional hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms increased the risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke and blood clotting in women. This created a demand for alternative treatment programs.
It is currently estimated that one third of women seeking relief from the signs and symptoms of menopause are on conventional prescription hormones. Another one third utilizes bio-identical hormone therapy which are synthesized compounds derived from plants but mimic the molecular structure of human hormones. The remaining third are exploring natural supplements and topical creams to help them tough it out.
While the signs and symptoms of peri menopause and menopause vary in intensity and duration, most women experience hot flashes at some point in time. Since menopausal symptoms can last from 2 to 15 years with the average being seven, finding relief from hot flashes can be a Godsend for many women. Before we examine some of the natural remedies for hot flashes we need to understand what causes them.
What Causes Hot Flashes!
Of all the various peri and menopausal symptoms, the one that gets most talked about and noticed are hot flashes. It’s estimated that 75 to 80 percent of women going through peri menopause experience hot flashes.
Like most menopausal symptoms, hot flashes are caused by a hormonal imbalance. As your body produces less estrogen and progesterone it affects the hypothalamus which helps regulate body temperature. This causes your blood vessels to expand and contract in an irregular and unpredictable basis. When blood vessels expand or dilate this increases blood flow to that particular area. This creates a rush of blood to the face, neck and chest area resulting in red skin, a feeling of heat, and causing most to perspire or sweat profusely. Sometimes a chill will follow a hot flash.
Depending upon the intensity of the hot flash other symptoms might include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, tingling sensations, increased heart rate, heart palpitations, extreme fatigue, mild dehydration, and a disruption in core body temperature. Most hot flashes last 3 to 6 minutes although some can be as short as 30 seconds and others as long as an hour. Some hot flashes are contained to one area such as the face or neck or chest while others will affect the whole upper body. Sometimes the hot flash only occurs once a week while others may experience one every 90 minutes. There is no real “average” when it comes to hot flashes and their total effect on the body.
What is consistent for all is a hormonal imbalance affecting the hypothalamus and its ability to regulate vasoconstriction and vasodilation of the capillaries of the upper part of the cardiovascular system.
Non-western cultures do not experience the same level of hot flashes as western cultures. It’s estimated that only 10 percent or less of menopausal women in Japan, Hong Kong, Pakistan, and Mexico experience hot flashes; where as in America about 75% of women will experience them. Diet is a critical component. High soy bean consumption, which stimulates estrogen production, has been linked as one potential reason for this large discrepancy.
Hot flashes are usually categorized as mild, moderate or severe. Mild hot flashes usually produce a feeling of warmth with little to no perspiration and last less than a minute. Moderate ones are warmer, last 2 to 3 minutes on average and produce perspiration. Severe hot flashes generate intense heat, profuse sweating, last longer and can be debilitating. The degree of your hot flash can also deplete your body of B vitamins, vitamin C and minerals like magnesium and potassium that are important for heart health.
Several Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes!
Because of the risks associated with Hormone Replacement Therapy there has been an explosion of products and natural remedies for hot flashes. Unfortunately, this has created confusion. As Dee Adams, who runs a web site devoted to menopause called www.minniepauz.com said:
“A lot of women went cold turkey after the Women’s Health Initiative results came out. They stopped trusting their doctors. They stopped trusting the pharmaceutical companies. Many see these natural treatments as a way of taking back control of their bodies. The problem is, we have no idea of what’s in them.”
Dee is right. Not only do most women not know what’s in them but they’re also using products that are not regulated. As Dr. Tod Cooperman, the director of a private health, wellness and nutrition product-testing lab called www.consumerLab.com found out when they tested more than a dozen products for menopause. Five of the products tested failed to gain the lab’s approval, of which two contained less soy and red clover than indicated by their labels and one was laced with traces of lead.
To help you navigate this confusing world, I’m going to provide you with sound natural remedies for hot flashes and then provide you with links to resources that I found to be helpful.
Exercise – This is one of the simplest of all the natural remedies for hot flashes. Aerobic exercise helps to lower the amount of circulating FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) while raising endorphin levels. To have a positive effect the minimum duration seems to be 20 minutes three times a week. As always if you are not currently exercising you should first check with a qualified health professional before you being an exercise program.
Vitamin E – One common remedy for mild to moderate hot flashes is taking 600 to 800 IUs of vitamin E on a daily basis. It’s estimated that 50 to 66 percent of women will find this effective. But the effects are not instant. It may take 2 to 6 weeks to determine if it’s working for you. There are also some precautions to take if you are diabetic, taking high blood pressure medication, have a history of hypertension, and rheumatic heart conditions. If this is true for you, then work with a qualified health professional so they can properly monitor your body’s reaction. As a side note, vitamin C seems to enhance the effects of vitamin E.
Herbs – The most commonly used herbs to alleviate hot flashes are black cohosh, dong quai, ginseng, and wild yam root. You may need to experiment with your herb selection to find the right combination that’s effective for you. Ginseng is a good example of this. Korean ginseng or American ginseng would be the herb of choice but the dosages vary according to body weight. In capsule form those weighing less than 130 lbs usually need 500 mg twice a day, three times per day for those weighing up to 160 lbs, and four times per day for those over 160 lbs. Ginseng is best taken on an empty stomach and taken separately from any vitamin supplement. Ginseng is not advised for those with diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma or emphysema.
Evening Primrose Oil – This helps with both hot flashes and restful sleep. Experts believe that the gamma linolenic acid in the oil helps to positively influence prostaglandin production. Depending upon the concentration in each capsule, and your individual makeup, dosages can vary from 2 to 8 capsules per day.
Over the Counter Topical Natural Progesterone Creams – As a trans-dermal cream it’s absorbed through the skin, non-toxic, and doesn’t typically have the side effects associated with synthetic progesterone creams. With that said, some women will still have problems with irritability and anxiety that are typically associated with this type of treatment.
Soy Protein – As mentioned early in this article the women of Japan have less than 10 percent of their population experiencing hot flashes. Most experts attribute this to their diet which includes large amounts of soy protein. Because of this, as well as other studies showing the effectiveness of soy protein and soy isoflavones, there has been a flood of soy products sold as natural remedies for hot flashes. The choices are overwhelming and unfortunately the results underwhelming. A whole article could be written in this area. The soy protein product that I found highly recommended from multiple menopausal experts is Revival Soy Protein which I’ll discuss in more detail below.
ProArgi-9 Plus – This is an L-arginine and L-citrulline product combined with other ingredients all designed to help repair the endothelial cells that line all of your cardiovascular system. This combination helps the endothelial cells properly produce nitric oxide which is the master signaling molecule for the cardiovascular system. This is especially important for heart and cardiovascular health.
Not only does this help to bring the cardiovascular system back in balance but there is enough good research to show that when properly brought into your body it can cross the blood-brain barrier. This stimulates the pituitary gland to naturally produce growth hormone which helps to rebalance hormonal levels. My wife Sherry successfully used this product for her high blood pressure. The side benefit was that her hot flashes and night sweats also disappeared. To listen to her story and the potential of this product then please click on ProArgi-9 Plus.
Revival Soy Protein – As I stated above, the world of soy protein and soy isoflavones is loaded confusing information and ineffective products. To help correct this problem Dr. Aaron Tabor and his medical research team developed Revival Soy Protein. Because of its effectiveness in helping with menopausal symptoms, it’s now the #1 soy product for help in this area. If you’re interested they provide a special trail offer which allows you to test their great product.
To help you navigate this challenging world of natural remedies for hot flashes I would recommend the following resources:
www.Power-Surge.com – This site is considered by many (HEALTH and Forbes magazines to name just two) to be the #1 site for women in menopause.
www.minniepauz.com – This site by Dee Adams provides both great information and a tremendous amount of humor (check out The Seven Menopausal Dwarfs) to help women through a very challenging time in their life.
www.project-aware.org – This informative site is dedicated to helping women better manage “the change in life” and provides some very good information on natural remedies for hot flashes.
www.womentowomen.com – This practice has over 25 years of experience in helping women successfully navigate many of their health issues and do it from a holistic and natural approach. They provide a toll-free number at 1-800-251-6671 to answer your questions and provide help.
I hope you have found this information helpful. Hopefully, one of these natural remedies for hot flashes will make your transition through peri menopause and menopause much more enjoyable.
Until next time, may we both age youthfully!
P.S. If you found this article helpful then I would also recommend the following articles:
7 Natural Remedies for Menopause!
Do Menopause Vitamins Really Work?
Sex After Menopause!?
The information contained in this website and posted articles are for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information contained in this website and posted articles has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.