If you think puberty is bad, consider Menopause – Puberty’s evil old sister. While menopause signals the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle, its symptoms can begin years before it actually ends. One of the most common symptoms is hot flash, a soar in the body’ s thermostat and an extreme feeling of warmth.

However, this feeling of warmth is definitely not something enjoyed by all women. It is unbearable, can cause insomnia, distract you from your activities and lead to excessive sweating.

How to Recognize a Hot Flash?

The frequency of hot flashes differs from one woman to another. It can occur during your perimenopausal stage, that is before you hit menopause and stop producing ovaries altogether and can also continue the first few years post menopause. These heat surges often last about 30 seconds to 10 minutes.


  • The unannounced feeling of intense heat that comes on quickly
  • Reddening of Face or Blotchy Skin
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Heavy Perspiration especially on the upper body
  • Chills, dizziness or a headache as the hot flash passes

The Science Behind the Hot Flash

Often described as one of the irksome signs that you are hitting menopause, hot flashes affect 75% of menopausal women. But what causes these irritating surges of heat waves?

Most experts attribute hot flashes to the gradual decrease in estrogen production. When estrogen levels fluctuate, it disrupts with the function of the hypothalamus section of the brain that regulates your body temperature. The internal body temperature would have just dropped off by 1-degree Celsius, but the brain actually is under a misperception that it is getting too hot.

While it is not certain how or why the drop in estrogen confuses the hypothalamus, it loses its typical functioning capacity as estrogen levels drop in the system. The brain then responds by releasing hormones to relay an alert to cool off. The heart pumps faster, the blood vessels dilate in order to circulate more blood and dissipate heat. As a result, the sweat glands are activated making you perspire.

This chain of reactions is considered to be normal when the weather is hot or if you are running a hot shower. But, in this case, it strikes for no apparent reason and makes you break into a sweat.


Triggers of Hot Flashes

This iconic symptom of menopause is a downright pain to deal with, not to mention a big frustration as well. So apart from chemical imbalances that trigger hot flashes, it would be wise to also note down other potential triggers :


  • Eating Spicy Foods
  • Alcohol
  • Hot Temperatures
  • Stress
  • Wearing tight clothing
  • Smoking
  • Rigorous Exercises

Prevent and Ameliorate Hot Flashes; Best Remedies for Hot Flashes

1. Lifestyle Changes

Living a healthy lifestyle by avoiding potential triggers can greatly reduce the incidence and severity of hot flashes. Eating a well-balanced diet packed with rich nutrients, exercising regularly and reducing stress are important ways to alleviate hot flashes.

Cut back on coffee, high sugars, spicy foods and add more whole grains, fruits, vegetables. Also consume more soy-rich foods that contain isoflavones and phytoestrogen foods like oats, carrots, apples, pomegranates, flaxseeds, yams that compensate for the loss of estrogen hormones.

A Pitta or body heat pacifying diet will come in handy as well. Drink lots of water, including bitter and astringent tastes cooking with cooling spices like coriander, anise, fennel, mint and add ghee which naturally pacifies your Pitta.


2. Natural Herbs that Heal

Herbs that balance the Pitta in the deep tissues of the body can be taken during perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. Herbs like Shatavari, Indian Sarsaparilla, Amla or Indian Gooseberry, Waterlily, Rose, Licorice, White Sandalwood helps to provide cooling action by increasing Soma or cooling lunar energy and balancing Agni or heat.


3. Detox

With the cessation of menstruation, women tend to lose their avenue of periodic cleansing. Hence, to compensate for the loss of natural purification, opt for internal cleansing or detoxing your way to good health.


4. Cool Down and Relax

Hot flashes generally follow a daily pattern and tend to peak in a majority of the women during late hours of 10.00 pm to 2.00 am which is generally the start of Pitta in the body according to Ayurveda. To keep down the Pitta levels, you have to consciously cool down gradually from the evening. Don’t work under pressure and take the time to relax.

Hot flashes can be bothersome but do remember that this too shall pass once you take the essential preventive measures.


5. Pranayama and Yoga 

Pranayama and Yoga also help in keeping your hormones in balance. Stress hormone cortisol particularly adds to the severity of hot flashes. Therefore, use Yoga, pranayama, and meditation to reduce stress levels and maximize the functioning of the adrenal glands.

A less known fact is that during menopause, the function of secretion of estrogen is taken over by the adrenal glands. Therefore healthier adrenal glands help in reducing menopausal symptoms by ensuring adequate production of estrogen.

Forward bending poses and Sheetali and Sheetkari Pranayamas are good for tackling hot flashes. Meditation and Yoga Nidra also very beneficial.

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