Herbal supplements, medical drugs, yoga - what works for hot flushes?
Going through menopause you may never experience hot flushes, but many women do. It’s a feeling of intense warmth that spreads over your body. It can also include sweating and a red flush. While that may not sound so terrible it can be disorienting, as well as cause a great deal of discomfort – and, as it can occur at night, it can disrupt sleep, further reducing quality of life.
Get the gadgets out.
What do you do when there’s a heatwave? Put those same tools to use when you experience hot flushes. So dig out the electric fan, or handheld version, wear loose fitting clothing and if necessary, keep a small cool pack with you containing a cold gel pack. You can also buy Magicool or other similar spray products that help cool you down when you need.
One very small study (only 33 women) published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
found that controlled breathing for 15 minutes twice a day helped reduce hot flushes by half, compared to biofeedback treatment (in simple terms, this is where your brain activity is monitored, with the aim of training your brain to calm down). Controlled breathing involves inhaling for a count of five, then exhaling for a count of five, repeating this over the 15-minute period.
Cooling yourself fully just as you feel a hot flush coming on can sometimes be enough to stop it in its tracks. With this in mind, one manufacturer has come up with the Menopod. This is a small device about the size of a computer mouse that activates copper pads which then can be used to cool your skin. You hold it against your neck when you feel a hot flush coming on and so, in theory, the hot flush will dissipate before it has even started properly. Of course, there are other ways you can do the same if you’re at home – ice, a cool pack, a bag of peas, all will help.
Yoga. Like progressive muscle relaxation, which involves tensing up each group of muscles, then relaxing them, yoga and meditation have both been found to help reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms.