Most women experience hot flashes at some point before or after menopause, when their estrogen levels are declining. While some women have few to no hot flashes, others have them numerous times each day. If hot flashes are disrupting your sleep or daily life, you are no doubt looking for relief. Fortunately, you have a number of self-care and medical treatment options that can help you manage your symptoms.
- No matter how disruptive and frustrating they may be, hot flashes are not a sign of a medical problem. They are a normal response to natural hormonal changes in your body. Hot flashes usually subside after the first or second year following menopause, when estrogen levels stabilize at a low level.
- Tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, and stress tend to make hot flashes worse. By avoiding these risk factors, exercising regularly, and eating well, you can prevent or reduce hot flashes.
- The body-mind connection is a powerful element of hot flashes and emotional symptoms. Rhythmic breathing exercises (paced respiration), which help you meditate and relax, may reduce your hot flashes.
- Treatments that may either reduce or stop moderate to severe hot flashes include short-term, low-dose estrogen (hormone therapy), certain antidepressant and blood pressure medicines, and the herb black cohosh.
What do I need to know about hot flashes?
Why treat hot flashes?
How can I manage hot flashes?
Where can I go from here?
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