At the onset of "the change," many women turn to their moms,
sisters and friends for advice on how to beat the heat during
unpleasant and uninvited hot flashes. While each woman can offer her
advice on relief, you might find that different treatments work for
According to Rebecca Hulem, certified menopause clinician and
affectionately known as "The Menopause Expert," that is OK.
"There's no one method of treatment that is appropriate for all
menopausal women," says Hulem. "The choices you make might be quite
different from the ones your best friend makes. And the way a
specific treatment method affects your body might also be quite
But one common ground many women find in their treatment plans is
that they are looking for natural solutions. Natural remedies
typically involve plants or habitual lifestyle changes that help
alleviate hot flashes.
For women seeking natural hot flash relief, below are a few of
the most effective options:
Focus on nutrition
With many changes taking place inside your body, it's essential
to maintain the right kind of diet. What's the right kind, you ask?
One that's full of fruits, vegetables and plant-based proteins such
as beans, lentils, legumes and soy. Certain soy supplements,
specifically, have been scientifically proven to decrease the
frequency and severity of hot flashes.
For some women, certain foods trigger hot flashes. Common
triggers include coffee, spicy foods or alcohol. Many experts
recommend avoiding caffeine or alcohol within three hours of bedtime
to decrease the likelihood of night sweats interrupting your sleep.
Exercise has been shown to improve hot flashes as well as a host
of other menopause-related issues women face, including sleep
disturbances. However, to reap the full benefits, it's important to
incorporate a variety of training techniques including aerobic,
weight-bearing, strength training and relaxation exercises like
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Take a natural supplement
Supplements containing soy isoflavones rich in genistein, or
naturally occurring compounds with a chemical structure similar to
estrogen, have been scientifically proven to reduce the frequency
and severity of menopausal hot flashes.
The results of the most comprehensive study to date, which were
published in Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause
Society this year, found clear and consistent evidence that soy
isoflavones decrease hot flash frequency and severity by
approximately 50 to 60 percent.
However, it's important to carefully examine supplement dosage to
make sure you are getting an effective amount. Supplements that
contain a dose of at least 19 milligrams of the soy isoflavone
genistein are most effective.
Some companies are making it especially easy to find supplements
that contain the right amount of soy isoflavones -- just look for
the green NovaSoy brand leaf on the labels of over-the-counter
supplements widely found in drug, grocery and health and nutrition
stores. To find a list of products featuring the leaf logo, visit
Deflate stress with therapy
It's been proven that lowering stress levels helps decrease
menopausal hot flashes. There are many ways to alleviate stress,
such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga exercises. But some
women are turning to more creative therapies such as hypnotherapy,
herbal therapy and aromatherapy. Regardless of the approach you
choose, bringing your body to a state of calmness and relaxation
should help minimize hot flashes.
It's important to remember, though, that you should still consult
your health care provider even if you are using natural options for
hot flash relief. Discuss your symptoms, treatment plan and how it
may impact your overall health.
It's also critical for women to remember that treatment doesn't
work overnight, emphasizes Hulem.
"You may need to try several different approaches before you find
the one that works best for you," she says.
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