TOP TIPS ON HOT FLUSHES

Top Tips on Hot Flushes

This is the symptom most often associated with menopause and affects virtually all of us at some point. Some have the occasional flush and others find themselves dripping with sweat in an instant with no warning. This is caused by the drop in oestrogen which disrupts our temperature regulation mechanism.

Hot flushes can happen at any time but are far more common at night which disturbs our sleep (and our partners). If hot flushes become unbearable and are affecting your sleep and quality of life then it’s time to take action.

Clothing

It may seem obvious but choosing natural materials can make a huge difference along with cotton bedding. If you sleep with your partner, consider having two single sheets / blankets / quilts on your double bed to prevent the disruption of you going hot and cold.

Watch your weight

Being obese can make hot flushes worse. Controlling your diet and exercise (see below) will really help, such as attending a MenoHealth class!

Stop smoking

This can change the way oestrogen is metabolised which will influence body function including hot flushes, so it’s another good reason to quit.

Exercise

Of course it’s going to make you hotter at the time but in the long term can reduce the number or intensity of your flushes along with a whole host of other benefits. Just avoid exercising before bedtime as you want your natural body temperature to drop and improve your quality of sleep. Another reason to exercise is that it spurs the brain to produce serotonin and dopamine that help control mood, sleep and alertness.

Food

If you love your cup of coffee you’ll now that it can cause a hot flush as the caffeine causes your blood vessels to widen so consider cutting back or trying decaffeinated coffee and tea. Alcohol has the same effect so it’s trial and error to find out what you are prepared to give up on depending on how much it effects you. Many people find spicy food also sets off hot flushes.

Vitamin E

This has been shown to reduce the severity of hot flushes. Good sources of Vitamin E, also known as antioxidants are nuts and seeds, fish such as salmon and trout and plants such as spinach and avocado. Remember to always check with your GP or pharmacist if you are taking any other medication.

Antidepressants

It may seem extreme, but antidepressants can be prescribed for hot flushes especially for those who can’t have HRT. The same chemicals that effect our mood (noradrenaline and serotonin) also effect our temperature control or thermostat in the brain. Of course there are side effects to taking antidepressants so you need to discuss this with your GP to establish if this is suitable for you.

Blood pressure medication

Clonidine can be used to treat hot flushes particularly for women who do not want or cannot take HRT. Clonidine is sometimes also used to treat high blood pressure and withdrawal symptoms caused by drug addiction. Again, you would need to discuss this with your GP to see if it is a suitable option for you.

HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)

This is the best remedy if it’s appropriate for you to take it. You need to discuss this with your GP. There are lifestyle changes and/or alternative treatments that you can try first.

Utilize these top tips to make hot flushes more bearable

*The effect of vitamin E on hot flashes in menopausal women. Ziaei S1, Kazemnejad A, Zareai M.

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