WOMEN’S HEALTH: Natural Help for Hot Flashes

wh-natural-health-for-hot-flashes.jpgHot from hormones? There are natural remedies that can help to cool down those hot flashes.

As a woman ages, her pituitary gland produces less and less of both the luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). These two hormones influence the amount of estrogen and progesterone the ovaries produce. When the hormone levels become low enough, the ovaries stop producing eggs. Thus you have menopause. Along with this, you may experience the discomfort and occasional embarrassment of hot flashes. The good news is that you don’t have to. There are preventative measures you can take, some of which are just common sense to good women’s health.

Interestingly, similar to the onset of labor in the childbirth cycle, no one knows precisely why hot flashes — those sudden feelings of heat in the upper part, or all over your body, and the accompanying flushed skin, heavy sweat, and even heart palpitation — occur. But it is known that fluctuating a estrogen level is the underlying cause.

Some women do not experience any hot-flash problems with menopause. Are those lucky ladies doing something different? More than likely, their healthy lifestyles include:

  • Exercise. Even moderate exercise a few times a week can greatly reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.
  • Lowfat, high-fiber diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains is associated with decreased severity or elimination of hot flashes.
  • Avoidance of triggers. Caffeine, smoking, spicy foods, alcohol, chocolate and sugar can set off those hot times.

In addition to healthy habits, if you’re trying to minimize hot flashes you could also seek help in the form of nutritional and herbal supplementation.

Phytoestrogens are substances found in plants that may behave like a weak form of estrogen in the body, moderating estrogen levels. They are found in cereals, legumes (beans), vegetables and some herbs.

Soy is the most well-known source. A soy supplement with a high concentration of isoflavones (the substance in soy that acts as a phytoestrogen) could help with hot flashes.
The wild yam is another food with phytoestrogens. Herbal sources are black cohosh and dong quai. Like soy, wild yam, black cohosh, and dong quai are also available as nutritional supplements.

Exercise, a lowfat diet high in natural fiber, the avoidance of known triggers — these elements combined with the use of phytoestrogen-containing supplements, may be all you need to lessen or even avoid hot flashes all together.

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