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5 Ways to Manage Your Hot Flashes and Night Sweats

5 Ways to Manage Your Hot Flashes and Night Sweats

Some experts estimate that 75% of women experience hot flashes and night sweats as they approach menopause, and others raise that number to more than 80%. Either way, you’re more likely to have hot flashes and night sweats than you are to not have them. 

Vasomotor symptoms, the medical name for hot flashes and night sweats, are initiated by the part of your brain that regulates your internal temperature. Patients who come to Apple Hill Gynecology for help in dealing with hot flashes during menopause generally report feeling hot, perspiring, and having elevated heart rates during a hot flash. Dr. Marsha Bornt and her team have put together this list of five ways you can manage vasomotor symptoms. 

1. Prepare 

There are a few things you can do before you have a hot flash that may help. For example, dress in layers, so that you can remove clothing when you start feeling warm. You might consider investing in a small, portable fan.

If you have night sweats, consider lowering the temperature in your bedroom, investing in a cooling pillow, and keeping cold water to sip near your bed. 

2. Evaluate your exercise routine

Several forms of exercise have been shown to help alleviate vasomotor symptoms. Aerobic exercise, or cardio, seems to help lower the number of hot flashes women experience. Walking or jogging, using the elliptical, group classes such as Zumba, and swimming are all examples of cardio.

High intensity interval training (HIIT), which involves short bursts of very intense activity followed by periods of less intense movement, may help your blood vessels dilate and contract more quickly. During a hot flash, your blood vessels dilate to help you cool down.

Yoga may also help. The focus on breath and movement together can lower stress, improve sleep, and may ease symptoms of depression—all of which can help reduce the number of hot flashes you have.

Finally, lifting weights, or strength training, both improves bone health and appears to reduce the number of hot flashes women experience. 

No matter what type of exercise you choose to do, regular physical movement is likely to ease your vasomotor symptoms. It may also offer an opportunity for social interaction. 

3. Consider your diet

Spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol may all trigger hot flashes or night sweats. Try avoiding them for a while and see if you feel any different. 

If you aren’t sensitive or allergic to soy, you may want to add more of it to your diet. Soy contains a plant-based form of estrogen. Tofu, miso, edamame, and soy milk are all good sources of soy, and even as little as a half cup of soybeans a day could ease your symptoms. 

4. Give mindfulness a try

Researchers have found that giving women mindfulness training reduces the number of hot flashes and night sweats they experience. This training involved teaching women to recognize and separate the various aspects of experience, like how they feel, their thoughts, and any sensations they are having. Mindfulness helps people create distance between each of those aspects. 

Meditation is a type of mindfulness, and there are numerous meditation apps, and guided meditations available. Breathing exercises, yoga, and tai chi may also help you develop more mindfulness. 

5. Consider medication

If hot flashes and night sweats are disrupting your life and making your normal activities difficult, you may want to consider menopause treatment. Dr. Bornt can make a recommendation based on your health and lifestyle. 

Hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, vaginal estrogen, or other medications are all potentially helpful treatment approaches, but your risk factors for certain conditions, your age, the intensity and number of hot flashes and night sweats you have, and your overall health all make a difference in which is likely to work best for you. 

Schedule an appointment at Apple Hill Gynecology today to learn more about what you can do to manage your vasomotor symptoms. 

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