Help for Hot Flashes - Lakeside Natural Medicine

Natural Health and Wellness for the Whole Family

Help for Hot Flashes

ByJoanne Aponte, ND July 9, 2023

Hot flashes and night sweats are very common in perimenopause and menopause. Women experience these different ways but typically it’s a feeling of intense heat that comes on suddenly or slowly. Other times women experience a hot flash as tingling, red/flushed face, sweating, burning, dizziness or fast heartbeat. For some women these can be quite intense and feel like a panic attack! Having hot flashes are not considered harmful and they are not necessarily a sign that something is wrong. However, if you are having frequent and intense hot flashes you are likely also having other menopausal symptoms and these symptoms can leave you feeling unwell and just “not like yourself”.

Scientists are still not sure what causes hot flashes but it’s thought to be due to a change in the temperature regulation in the brain. This happens as a result of low estrogen, and more specifically from the fall of estrogen from high to low.  Typically the hypothalamus accepts a small shift in body temperature without making a response. However in perimenopause and menopause, this “thermostat” becomes very touchy. Now even a small shift in your body temperature  results in the hypothalamus trying to adjust your temperature and so you sweat or shiver to get back to your set point.

In theory hot flashes should occur only during the late perimenopause years and during the 12 months after your last period. During this period estrogen has more fluctuations. However, after time when estrogen stabilizes and a new normal state of a low estrogen has been established,  your brain should recalibrate and re-establish a new neutral temperature range. For some women however, the hot flashes do not end.

Here are 5 ways to reduce your hot flashes

  1. Keep yourself cool – wear breathable natural fibers and dress in layers. Keep a small fan nearby your work area.  Keep your bedroom cool at night, no higher than 67F.
  2. Exercise  – especially more yoga  and strength training
  3. Diet – Eat a Mediterranean Style diet that is focused on whole foods, vegetables and moderate fruit. Avoid alcohol, spicy food and sugar – these are common triggers of hot flashes.
  4. Manage stress and support your HPA axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal). Stress is the No. 1 trigger of hot flashes. Our levels or serotonin and adrenaline (the stress hormones) affect the hypothalamus which is is why you might have more hot flashes when you are stressed. Yoga and mindfulness based meditation techniques can be helpful. Stress also strains our adrenal function leading to imbalances of DHEA and Cortisol. The adrenals make the majority of hormones after menopause so supporting the adrenals and optimizing the 2 main adrenal hormones, cortisol and DHEA is really important. At lakeside, we can test adrenal function via a saliva or urine test. Click here to learn more about how to support adrenals and balance your HPA axis with lifestyle and diet.
  5. Optimize your blood sugar and address high insulin – keep your blood sugar stable by eating 3 meals per day that contain protein and fiber.  Do not skip meals. Avoid refined/white starches and grains (like bread, pasta, muffins etc).  Address elevated blood sugar, diabetes and insulin resistance.
  6. Get acupuncture

5 Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes

  1. Eat Organic Non-GMO soy.  Soy helps improve bone mass, lowers cholesterol and can help reduce hot flashes and night sweats.  Enjoy a cup of unsweetened soy milk and use tofu or tempeh as a vegetarian protein source in stir fries, salads and main dishes.  Here is a great way to prepare tofu.
  2. Black cohosh – reduces hot flashes, night sweats and helps the mood. Take with Rhodiola for best results.
  3. Adaptogenic herbs – two great adaptogenic herbs for menopause are Rhodiola and Ashwagandha. These herbs help the body adapt to stress and improve stress resiliency. Rhodiola reduces hot flashes, improves energy, and lifts the mood. Ashwagandha improves memory and cognition, calms and relaxes the nervous system and helps increase the adrenal hormone DHEA.
  4. Maca improves hot flashes, insomnia, balances the mood, lowers bodyweight, improves blood pressure and raises the good cholesterol HDL.    Learn more about Maca here and how to incorporate this superfood into your diet
  5. Rheum rhaponticum – the standardized extract of Rheum rhaponticum (ERr731) helps relieve hot flashes, helps with sleep problems, improves mood and improves physical & mental fatigue.

Full benefit from these natural remedies can take some time. Give things at least 8-12 weeks to see the full benefit.

If you continue to have hot flashes with the above recommendations, hormone therapy might be your best option. Some women just need some hormones! Taking bio-identical hormones such as  estrogen and progesterone be a very safe and effective treatment for hot flashes and other menopause related symptoms.

Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.

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