6 Tips for Coping With Hot Flashes

  • Mature Woman Experiencing Hot Flush From Menopause
    Keep Cool During Menopause
    Hot flashes are the most common complaint of menopausal women. They come out of the blue and occur day or night, sometimes disrupting sleep to the point of insomnia. Some women have mild symptoms, with hot flashes only occasionally, but in severe cases, women can experience 10 or more episodes every day. While hot flashes will decrease as you move into postmenopause, there are several things you can do right now to reduce your symptoms.

  • Caucasian woman admiring herself in mirror
    If you know what triggers your hot flashes, you’re one step ahead of the game. So pay attention to where you are and what you’re doing when a hot flash occurs. Many women find stress is a top trigger, so do your best to manage stressful situations throughout your day, whether at work, at home, or while traveling. Also a good rule of thumb: Wear cotton clothing and pajamas, and dress in layers during cold weather so you can peel them off as needed.

  • Two mature women exercising on beach, doing yoga
    Relaxation Techniques
    With so many relaxation strategies to choose from—yoga, massage, meditation, breathing exercises, or even hypnosis—it can be overwhelming to find the one that works best for you. Any of these options could help you reduce your stress level, and many women have turned to a technique called “paced respiration” to cope with their hot flashes. In paced respiration, you will breathe very slowly, breathing in to the count of 5 and out to the count of 5. When you feel a hot flash coming on, try paced respiration for five minutes to control the episode.

  • Fresh organic vegetables on a table
    Lifestyle Adjustments
    Eating well and exercising is a good option for everyone at any time and may provide additional benefits for menopausal women suffering from frequent hot flashes. Overweight and obese women typically have more severe hot flashes, so improving your diet and losing weight may be helpful. Also consider cutting back on alcohol and caffeine, especially at night. And as if you needed another reason to stop smoking—smokers tend to experience hot flashes more often, so kick the habit for good.

  • Acupuncture
    Traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture involves inserting tiny needles in therapeutic locations in different parts of the body. The philosophy behind the treatment is that using the needles brings balance to the body’s energy, called “chi.” The acupuncture needles stimulate nerves that cause endorphins—your body’s natural painkillers—to increase, restoring normal body energy flow and balance. Many women report the needles don’t hurt and that the treatment significantly reduced the number of hot flashes they suffered every day.

  • Soybeans
    Plant Estrogens
    Hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms arise because your ovaries gradually make less and less estrogen. Some women have added plant-based estrogens to their diet to combat hot flashes. Natural foods such as soybeans, chickpeas and lentils may provide a weak, estrogen-like effect on the body. However, research hasn’t confirmed that plant estrogens provide a benefit for menopausal women, so talk with your doctor before up-ending your diet to accommodate plant-based estrogens.

  • Hormone replacement therapy pills
    Hormone Therapy
    Systemic hormone therapy may be a good choice for some healthy women. This type of estrogen therapy comes in pill, patch, gel, cream and spray forms, and it can be used to treat moderate to severe hot flashes. Systemic hormone therapy should only be used for less than five years, and it should not be taken by breast cancer survivors. Because one large clinical trial found the risks might outweigh the benefits for a significant percentage of women, hormone therapy might not be your doctor’s go-to answer for coping with hot flashes. Along with other factors, your age and the time you began to experience menopause will help your doctor determine if hormone therapy is an option for you.

6 Tips for Coping With Hot Flashes

About The Author

Ashley Festa is a Greenville, S.C.-based freelance writer and editor who has been writing professionally for nearly two decades. In addition to Healthgrades, she also has written for Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, the University of Texas at Arlington School of Nursing and Health Innovation, and Fit Pregnancy magazine.
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Sep 2
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