Hot flushes

Hot flushes are the most common symptom of the menopause. About 80% of all women experience it when going through this period of their life. More about menopause read here.

Hot flashes, also known as vasomotor symptoms, are often described as a sudden sensation of heat in the chest, face, and head followed by flushing, perspiration, and sometimes chills. When a hot flash occurs during sleep, it can be accompanied by sweat. Such night sweats make it difficult to get a good night’s rest. The estimates of the duration of these symptoms come from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), a long-term study of women of different races and ethnicities who are in the menopausal transition. They were published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The SWAN researchers found that some women are more likely to deal with long-term hot flashes than others. Women who had their first hot flashes before their menstrual periods ended had hot flashes for an average of nine to 10 years. When hot flashes didn’t start until after the last menstrual period, the average duration was only about three and a half years. But even on the short end of the spectrum, that’s a long time to deal with hot flashes and night sweats.
Women in the SWAN study who experienced hot flashes for a longer time tended to be current or former smokers, overweight, stressed, depressed, or anxious. Ethnicity also played a role. African American women reported the longest duration of hot flashes (averaging more than 11 years), while Japanese and Chinese women had hot flashes for about half that time.

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What causes hot flushes?

Hot flushes and are thought to be caused by changes in the hormone levels affecting the body’s temperature control.

According to NHS UK, hot flushes can happen without warning throughout the day and night, but can also be triggered by:

  • eating spicy foods
  • caffeine and alcohol
  • smoking
  • wearing thick clothing
  • a high temperature
  • feeling stressed or anxious
  • treatment for certain types of cancer (this can affect both men and women)
  • certain medicines
  • some health conditions, such as an overactive thyroid, diabetes, and tuberculosis

What can be done?

“While hormone therapy is very effective at relieving hot flashes, the longer-term treatment carries an increased risk for breast cancer, and women at older ages have higher risks of stroke, blood clots, and other health problems. So it’s important that women explore a full range of treatment options — especially women likely to have persistent hot flashes,” advises Dr. Manson.

For some women, self-help measures can help ease hot flashes. These include:

  • deep-breathing exercises when a hot flash starts
  • dressing in layers
  • lowering the thermostat
  • diet changes including staying away from caffeine, alcohol, hot beverages, and spicy foods
  • stress reduction techniques like meditation and mindfulness
  • doing your best to stay cool in general.

How homeopathy can help?

Homeopathic remedies can help the body to gently rebalance the hormones and in this way deal with the hot flush as well as other menopausal symptoms. There are a few remedies used most common for treating hot flushes. Those are Sepia, Lachesis, Pulsatilla, Calcarea carbonica. The choice of remedies depends on the person’s symptoms and is done after at least an hour-long consultation where all symptoms are discussed. More about some cases and the remedies that hepped you can read here.

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