Hot flushes: how to cope

By Siski Green, Monday 4 August 2014

Learn more about hot flushes, one of the most common menopause symptoms, with our guide to remedies and treatments.
Hot flushHerbal 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.

Breathe. 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.

Ice. 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.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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  • Amelia

    Posted: Monday 27 October 2014

    began menopause approx 3 years ago age 50, awful hotflushes till periods returned, what a relief! now hot flushes are back in the absence of them. I thought it would be great to not have periods every month, but actually having hot flushes etc every day is far worse (apart from pre pregnancy periods that is, which were painful)

  • vicky taylor

    Posted: Sunday 26 October 2014

    Hi I'm 32 and a recent blood test shown I am in fact pre menopausal. I have horrendous hot flushes and sweats. Sometimes they are that bad I look like I have jus washed my hair. I tried sage tablets to no joy I'm currently using black cohoh and evening primrose. I have been using for 10 days now and have noticed a slight Improvement. I'm going to give them 28 days and see how things are. So maybe they are worth a try.

  • Pauline Elliott

    Posted: Thursday 16 October 2014

    Ladies, please try Ladycare magnet! Read the writeups, It is amazing apparently! I am giving it a go and will update with results, got it to relieve my hot flushes.

  • Marisa

    Posted: Thursday 16 October 2014

    Hi all ! I am 51 and started menopause a year ago , the stories I have been reading all sound excactly what I have been going thru ! A month ago I started taking Metagenics Oestrocalm to help with the hot Flushes and night sweats and they worked within a couple of days , I started taking 3 capsules in the morning and 3 at night along with other vitamins to help support me thru this painful time called MENOPAUSE ! Hope this helps one of you lovely ladies

  • CHRISTINE GREYGOOSE

    Posted: Wednesday 15 October 2014

    I am 69 and have suffered hot flushes since coming off hrt 5years ogo. Untill you experience this you dont realise how this effects your whole life. Docters seem to be unconcerned about how severe this is to some people

  • Claire Earley

    Posted: Tuesday 14 October 2014

    Hiya, I am 50 & have been having flushes for about 3-4 years, I had a hysterectomy at 39 still have my ovaries, I take Gabapentin along with a load of other meds for pain so can confirm that for me at least gab does NOT help with flushes I was on HRT for about 18 months which did lesson them a bit but the risks did not seem worth it so have now been off for 3 weeks & OMG the flushes are back.I feel cold when not flushing so clothes are on & off a lot.But I'm still alive so gotta keep positive.

  • coral

    Posted: Wednesday 01 October 2014

    I've been having hot flushes sometimes I'm having 5 or 6 a day! I get out the shower I break into a sweat it's mainly my face I'm 46year I so conscious of this I don't want to out the door

  • Virginia Aylott

    Posted: Wednesday 17 September 2014

    I am 77 and for the past 2-3 years keep having awful hot flushes I did not have many when going thru my change. Have tried Bach and Sage but I just seem to get worse it is so embarassing have asked Dr. and he laughed and said you are going thru your menapause. HAHA HELP

  • fiona

    Posted: Tuesday 02 September 2014

    I have been going through the menopause for the last 5 years I started early at the age of 35, I'm on hrt which does help but a few days before my period is due I suffer terrible flushes at night and I am left with a bad headache and low mood and heavy bleeding.

  • Susie Brooker

    Posted: Monday 01 September 2014

    I started flushing aged 38 and am now 60.In the past I found sage helpful but it didn't stop all flushes. Eventually I tried hrt but grew huge fibroids. Doc removed uterus, ovaries and cervix (sister had invasive cancer) I took unopposed oestrogen for quite a while but raised bp and weight gain made my gp stop it. It's not the flushes, it's the awful feeling that precedes it. An awful heart sinking. Flush follows in 2-5 mins. Think I might try sage again. Does anyone else get awful feelng?

  • Christine bolingbroke

    Posted: Tuesday 12 August 2014

    Re the hot flashes article and taking Gabapentin. I take 900mg of Gabapentin a day for medical reasons and I have horrendous hot flashes so I'm afraid the theory of it helping reduce the hot flashes is out the window !!

  • Stephanie

    Posted: Monday 11 August 2014

    I had total hysterectomy 15 years ago. I was prescribed HRT estrogen patch until this past May. Hot flashes are debilitating, especially at night. I tried to slowly wean off the patch by cutting it in half. That did not seem to help so I went completely without. I awaken every two hours sweating and miserable. I'm not sure what to do except cut out caffeine, sugar, alcohol and exercise daily.

  • Linda Howard

    Posted: Sunday 10 August 2014

    The only thing I have used that helps is a fan, I switch it on when I get into bed and turn it off when I get up in the morning, I only have a top sheet over me in bed even in the winter and no heating in the bedroom. I also bought a chill pillow from Amazon that works quite well. I put it inside my pillow case and it feels really cold and helps me to get off to sleep but I do wake up when the pillow is hot, secret have two and swop when one gets hot

  • Bela

    Posted: Thursday 07 August 2014

    I started having night Hot flushes and menopause symptoms ( aged 50) so after a while I went to my naturopath who recommended Metagenics, Oestrocalm 2 caps a day morn and night, Resilian 2 caps a day morn and night and hey presto no more hot flushes almost within two days of taking the supplements!! I think you need to have the practitioner level supplements and consultation for your specific needs.

  • Erica

    Posted: Tuesday 05 August 2014

    I'm 53, periods stopped within the last year. Was on the lowest dose of HRT at the time and have recently stopped taking it. My experience is that the hot flushes were reduced but now here with a vengeance. I would say HRT stalls flushes but there's no escape afterwards!

  • Andrea

    Posted: Saturday 02 August 2014

    I'm 43 this year and iv been in bed for 4 days now with the most shocking hot flushes I keep taking paracetamol and taking my temp but its ok I feel so tired look like crap and the hot flushes are shocking I haven't been sleeping for days am I to young to b going through menepause please help I do t no what's happening to me all I no is that it's making me feel ill I kept thinking is it my period although my periods have been strange for the past year but I had the coil fitted last year thanks x

  • sunita kaur

    Posted: Saturday 02 August 2014

    hello everyone,i have just started with the menopause about 1 year ago and omg the hot flushes are the worst,i can sweat buckets throught the day and dont even get me started over night time,i wake up sweating down my back and the heat that comes from my head seriously put your heaters away and just warm your hands on my head lol. anyways i was wondering how long dose this menopause lasts for and whats the best herbal treatment as i have arthritis aswell. much appricated and good luck to you all

  • Charlene Hartley

    Posted: Tuesday 22 July 2014

    Hi I am 25 and I've been having hot flushes since I was 16. I have them every day sometimes for 8 hrs a day and sometimes for a few hours. I really have tried every specialist every doctor and they still cant find a cause! If anyone finds anyways to deal with this it would be greatly appreciated. Its effecting every aspect of my life and really bringing me down.

  • Rachel

    Posted: Thursday 17 July 2014

    Hello to all sufferers!!
    I read all your comments and first off I'm relieved to know I am not alone in this dark world of embarrassing hot flushes! As I read though, I start to cry again, I feel I have tried everything going but nothing seems to stop this awful hot flush! Sometimes it is so embarrassing it feel like never going out again;what's the point I ask myself, your makeup runs down with the heaviest of droplets of sweat, your hair , looks like I just got out of shower!! Please help x

  • Eve

    Posted: Wednesday 16 July 2014

    Started the hot flushes 10 years ago (now 69)was on HRT at 50 it was great but they took me off it. Tried all the health shop remedies, nothing worked, Doctor gave me Chlonidine, didn't work, went to see a Prof who was doing a paper on all of this told me it can continue until I am 80. That for me was just about the last straw, have been offered sleeping pills but do not want to go down that road, so if anyone has a solution let me know, I am going try acupuncture next week, wish me luck.

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