Natural Therapies for Hot Flushes

 


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Of all the natural therapies for hot flushes that have been studied and evaluated for safety and effectiveness, black cohosh appears to be the best. When you think of remedies for hot flushes in the menopause phase of a woman’s life, you may immediately think of herbs and other supplements that can relieve them, but there are lifestyle and dietary changes that can reduce their frequency and severity.

Most women experience hot flushes around the time of menopause. Some women experience them several years before menstruation actually ends. And, some have them for years afterward. Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when there are no more eggs in the ovaries. At this time the ovaries stop producing estrogen and the lower levels of estrogen are believed to cause hot flushes. The heat usually starts in the chest, works its way up the neck to the face and head. Sweat may pop out on the forehead.

According to some studies, the majority of women do not feel that they have a major impact on their quality of life, but, undoubtedly, many women would disagree. Since the health risks associated with hormone replacement therapy have become well known, more and more women are seeking natural therapies for hot flushes.

When they happen at night, a woman may wake up with a pool of sweat on her chest, finding the bed linens wet. Once the heat goes away, she often feels chilled. Hands and feet are sometimes cold, while the chest, neck and face are hot. Hot flushes that occur at night are often referred to as night sweats. They can affect the quality of a woman’s sleep, sometimes leading to insomnia. One of the remedies for hot flushes in the menopause is to sleep in a cool room, using a fan and light weight blankets; wearing light cotton clothing and keeping an extra blanket nearby, in case of a chill.

The popularity of natural therapies for hot flushes that include herbs and plant components has some doctors and researchers concerned about safety issues related to long term use of herbs. Most herbalists separate plants into three groups; those that are common food items or commonly used to flavor food, those that are strictly used for medicinal purposes and those that are dangerous, poisonous and not safe for human consumption. The herbal and botanical remedies for hot flushes in the menopause that have been used historically by native healers and are commonly used today belong to the first and second groups.

Traditional healers tested plants by ingesting them or learned about their poisonous affects by treating others who had ingested them. Modern day scientists test plant components first on cell lines in a laboratory setting, then on animals and finally on people if relative safety has been established. These are the same trials that newly designed synthetic medications must pass, before being marketed. When it comes to new medicines, the safety of long-term use cannot be readily established and many drugs are released and then removed from the market, because of safety concerns. When it comes to herbal remedies for hot flushes in the menopause, the safety of long-term use has been established by historical use, but for those who are still unsure, we can consult the scientists.

Of all of the herbal remedies for hot flushes in the menopause that have currently been evaluated, black cohosh appears to be the safest and most effective. However, certain lifestyle and dietary factors can interfere with its effectiveness. Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and spicy foods can all trigger hot flushes. One of the natural therapies for hot flushes , commonly recommended by other women, is regular exercise. If you are sedentary and you smoke, drink coffee and alcohol on a regular basis, natural therapies for hot flushes may not be effective.

For the latest research relating to hot flushes and other symptoms of menopause, please visit the Menopause and PMS guide .

Patsy Hamilton was a health care professional for more than twenty years before she became a freelance writer. Currently she writes informational articles related to women’s health for the Menopause and PMS Guide. Read more at www.menopause-and-pms-guide.com .

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