The Safest Ways To Stop Hot Flashes

Hot flashes are a reaction of menopause. The pulse races, skin reddens and then drenching sweats occur. That's what 80% of menopausal women experience. There are alternatives to hormone replacement therapy.

You're sitting in a climate-controlled room. You begin to feel strange. Suddenly it seems as though someone has just raised the thermostat to 100 degrees. You look around and notice you're perhaps the only one who feels like stripping off your clothes and diving into the water cooler. Ten minutes later, you're shivering like you've just come in from a blizzard.

You've had that feeling before, remember? It came in the form of a blaring alarm clock the night before when you did more weeping than sleeping. Your mate's suggestion? See a psychiatrist. Good advice, wrong medical field; gynecologist, internist or general practitioner is more like it.

Menopause affects women in many different ways. Some feel they're about to faint or experience a heart attack, while others will become overly sensitive, highly depressed and cry for no reason. You no longer feel desirable. And any compliment from your mate could send you right over the edge. All in all, the tremendous hormonal fluctuations during this confusing time are uncomfortable and disturbing sensations.

If you're over age 40, you've just entered the Outer Limits. It's not your fault your dysfunctional ovaries are now controlling the horizontal and vertical lines of your normal behavior pattern. About 80% of all menopausal women suffer, some more than others. This imbalance is more severe in women who do not sweat, whose menopause was surgically induced, and who are also enduring external stress.

Your gynecologist or internist can prescribe estrogen and progesterone to help you endure this change of life. However, there are quite a few natural remedies that can help you get through this difficult time.

If you are not diabetic, high doses of Vitamin E can be effective. Diet supplements containing black cohosh, unicorn root and ginseng have helped some women. Licorice root works to balance hormone levels. Japanese women report that a daily menu of rice and soy helps them control their hot flashes. There are numerous herbal and homeopathic remedies on the market aimed at balancing hormone levels.

Keep in mind the store attendant is not a medical expert and is not interested in whether you are diabetic or asthmatic; some of these remedies, like ginseng, could do you more harm than good. Be sure to ask your doctor about the supplements before you purchase them.

Some women report that moderate exercise and an active sex life help them because both activities raise important endorphin levels. Others may turn to meditation and visualization to promote a more positive mood.

Recent studies show that hormone levels do, in fact, affect sleep. Doctors have been looking closely at melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland. If you are disturbed by night sweats, melatonin has been proven successful in treating insomnia and jet lag. However, this supplement can cause depression in some women, which may defeat the purpose.

Chamomile tea and St. John's wort with Kava Kava also help menopause-related insomnia. Sage, which contains plant estrogens, reduces excessive sweating and also helps reduce the frequency of night sweats.

Another safe way to get a good night's rest is pamper yourself with a soothing, hot bath before bedtime. Take calcium in your preferred form and listen to soft music or a mood enhancement audio tape.

Yes, the new millennium has given the "M" word a name. So it's okay to talk about your symptoms with mature family members and compassionate friends. Your mate, in particular, needs to understand this menopausal passage in order to help you get through it.

After talking with your doctor, visit Hot Flash!, a web site which sponsors an excellent support group with emphasis on perimenopause, menopause and other women's health problems.

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