Hot Flushes

Hot flushes and night sweats are the hallmark of the menopause and a common symptom, with up to 75 percent of women suffering with them.

A hot flush is a feeling of intense heat, generally spreading from your face, neck and chest and can last for several minutes. You may have little warning and experience a sudden rush of heat, causing visible signs of facial flushing as the blood flow is redirected to the skin and it is common to begin sweating. Immediately following a hot flush there can be a significant drop in body temperature and a chill may be experienced.

The exact reason for hot flushes and night sweats is still not fully understood and research is on-going, though it is thought they are typically caused by fluctuating hormone levels, which confuses the hypothalamus, the body’s thermostat, into thinking your body is too hot. Other potential triggers are spicy foods, caffeine, stress, smoking and alcohol.

Natural remedies for hot flushes and night sweats include black cohosh, which contains plant hormones that can act as herbal hormone therapy. Sage is effective in cooling the blood, try making a herbal infusion and drink two or three cups a day. Dong Quai may help balance the pituitary gland. Soy products, ginseng and evening primrose oil have also been suggested to help relieve symptoms. At the same time, regular exercise, meditation and breathing exercises may be of some benefit.

If natural remedies are not effective in treating your hot flushes or night sweats, you may want to consider hormone replacement therapy. Discuss it with your doctor who will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment.