What Can I Do About Hot Flushes?
A hot flush is a sudden feeling of feverish heat often accompanied by sweating. It most commonly occurs at night but can also happen during the day. In Chinese medicine terms you get hot flushes because you are simply too hot. And you are too hot because as you get older your Yin depletes (particularly over the menopausal period). Yin is a key substance in your body that is cool in nature. It’s just like running a car engine with low levels of coolant – it will run hotter than it should creating problems. There are some simple things you can do to boost your levels of Yin (coolant) and cool your body down to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flushes.
Symptoms of Hot Flushes & Menopause
Women can feel a range of symptoms from mild to severe.
- Feelings of mild to intense heat on the face, torso, arms or the entire body.
- Redness in the face and or neck.
- Weight gain.
- Sleep problems from the heat.
- Mild or profuse sweating.
- Nausea, dizziness, anxiety, and headaches.
- Mood disorders.
- Vaginal dryness.
Hot Flushes in Western Medicine Terms
The most common cause of hot flushes in women is diminishing oestrogen levels. Interestingly Oestrogen is very Yin in nature, which matches the Chinese medicine view. To treat it, medications include Hormone Replacement Therapy (which uses a synthetic hormone to stimulate oestrogen production) and non-hormone therapies including anti-depressants, blood pressure medications and epilepsy medications. Common side effects include nausea and bloating, bleeding, leg cramps, headaches and an increased risk of heart disease.
What You Can Do To Help Reduce Hot Flushes?
- Stop eating spicy foods – you’re already too hot!
- Cut back on coffee – as it warms you up. Drink tea instead (particularly peppermint tea).
- Eat more phytoestrogen-rich foods – soy and linseed.
- Eat more Yin-rich foods – eggs and all dark foods like plums, beetroot and kale.
- Reduce your stress levels if you can.