Progesterone and estrogen levels fluctuate dramatically during preimenopause. This rollercoaster ride of hormones affects the hypothalamus, the part of the brain which controls appetite, sleep-wake cycles, sex hormones, and body temperature.
Hot flashes can also be influenced by different lifestyle factors and medications a woman takes.
Some of the identified triggers are:
- Eating spicy foods
- Wearing thick layers of clothing
- High room temperature
- High body mass index (BMI)
- Treatments to certain kinds of cancer
- Other comorbid health conditions (thyroid, diabetes, tuberculosis)
- Feelings of anxiety and stress
How to Manage Hot Flashes
Natural remedies are the best method to deal with a hot flash. Some lifestyle changes can help you deal with hot flashes, or at least reduce their occurrence.
It may help to go over these tips first before seeking medication:
- Avoid triggers (i.e., caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol, smoke, diet pills, hot places).
- Wear thin layers of clothing (such as cotton, linen, and rayon).
- Have your cold water within hand reach.
- Lower room temperature.
- Reduce fat in your diet.
- Take a cold shower before going to bed.
- Wear comfortable loungewear when sleeping.
- Carry a portable fan with you.
- Use cotton sheets for your beddings.
Acupuncture has also been demonstrated in studies to be an effective treatment for hot flashes. After eight weeks of acupuncture treatment, the research funded by the National Institutes of Health revealed that almost half of the women who responded to the treatment reported fewer hot flash episodes.