Hot flashes are a very common symptom of the menopausal transition. They are uncomfortable and can last for many years.
According to menopause.org, hot flashes are reported by as many as 75 per cent of perimenopausal women in the United States. While some hot flashes can be easily tolerated, others can be embarrassing for women. When they happen at night, hot flashes are called night sweats.
“Research has found that African American and Hispanic women get hot flashes for more years than white and Asian women,” the report said.
If you are bothered by hot flashes and have decided to take some medications, there are certain things you need to do. First of all, try to take note of what triggers your hot flashes and how much they bother you. This can be helpful in making better decisions about managing your symptoms.
Doctors suggest that women who are ready to take medication should make some changes for at least 3 months before starting it.
If you are unable to sleep at night because of hot flashes, keep your bedroom cooler and drink some cold water before bed.
Here are some other lifestyle changes suggested by doctors
- Carry a device called a portable fan to use when it strikes.
- Avoid spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine. These can make menopausal symptoms worse.
- Try to quit smoking, not only for menopausal symptoms but for your overall health.
- Obese or overweight women may experience more frequent and severe hot flashes. So it is important to maintain a healthy weight.
- Try doing some yoga or other self-calming techniques. Some research has shown that yoga, and mindfulness meditation may help improve menopausal symptoms.
Medications to treat hot flashes
Some women can take hormones to treat their hot flashes. It is believed that hormone therapy steadies the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. However, there are risks associated with taking hormones, including increased risk of stroke, heart attack, blood clots, breast cancer, gallbladder disease, and dementia.
“Because of risks of hormone therapy, its use should be limited to the shortest duration consistent with an individual woman’s treatment goals and benefits,” the report said.