Hot flashes are one of those enigmas that are so difficult to explain to someone who has never experienced one. It’s more than merely feeling a little warm – it’s akin to a someone lighting a torch in your core that quickly spreads like wildfire to your extremities and skull, causing a raging surge of sweat and exasperation. Controlling hot flashes is tricky because you just never know when they are coming on.
The best way to handle them is to try and prevent them in the first place; and be well prepared for the times they sneak up on you. Here are some tips that may help you through:
1. Dress in Layers – The last thing you want is to be trapped in a wool turtleneck sweater when the big one breaks out. Layering your clothing will allow you to shed until you’re comfortable, keeping in mind the bottom layer should be something you’d wear in public and not just an undergarment.
2. Keep it Cool – Maintaining an even body temperature is a good way to thwart the onset of an internal inferno. Some suggestions include wearing cotton clothing that breathes, keeping a fan within reach, turning down the heat at night, avoiding hot drinks, and staying out of the sun - especially on hot summer days.
3. Stay Hydrated – Although it’s always important to drink enough water, if you don’t get the recommended amount of fluids your body’s thermostat will be thrown off and you will have a tendency to overheat. The best way to remember to consume your 6 – 8 glasses a day (more if you’re indulging in caffeine or a vigorous exercise routine) is to fill a reusable bottle and keep it close to you. Sipping will be habit-forming after a while, even if you’re not particularly thirsty.
4. Remain Calm – Anxiety and stress can exacerbate hot flashes. Things like practicing mindfulness, listening to music, and getting enough exercise, can help in managing these feelings. If inner peace is elusive for whatever reason, adding a Chinese herbal remedy like Dong Quai Powder may offer some relief, as it has been known to alleviate the occurrence and severity of hot flashes.
5. Avoid Triggers – There are some elements that beckon hot flashes you should try to eliminate – or minimize at best. These include alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, and cigarettes. If giving up your morning cup of joe or evening glass of vino is virtually impossible, try taking an herb like black cohosh, which may help prevent hot flashes by naturally balancing estrogen levels.