Power surge, Flashing, Flushing, Night sweats- hot flashes are undoubtedly the most troublesome symptom of menopause and the most common menopause symptom to cause women to visit their doctor’s office.
Hot flashes refer to sudden and intense hot sensations on the face and upper portion of the body. These are often preceded or accompanied by other symptoms, such as excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, nausea, dizziness, weakness, headache or a feeling of suffocation. Hot flashes are most common in women going through menopause. This is the time when many hormonal changes occur in the body and there is a decrease in estrogen in the body, which happens to be the main cause of hot flashes. There are some factors which may worsen the symptoms of hot flashes. These include obesity, eating spicy foods, physical inactivity, excessive stress, smoking, saunas, warm baths, and excessive drinking.
Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
While there is no consistent or conclusive evidence of red clover leaf extract reducing hot flashes, some women claim that red clover has helped them. Studies outline few side effects and no serious health issues with its use. However, studies in animals have reported concerns that red clover might have harmful effects on hormone-sensitive tissue.
Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa, Cimicifuga racemosa)
This particular herb has gained quite a bit of scientific attention for its possible effects on hot flashes. Studies conducted on its effectiveness in reducing hot flashes have produced mixed results. Some women though have reported that it has helped them. A recent research has suggested that black cohosh does not act like estrogen, as once thought. This reduces concerns about its effect on hormone-sensitive tissue such as the uterus, breast. Black cohosh has had a good safety record over a number of years. There have been certain reports connecting black cohosh to liver problems, which continues to be studied.
Dong Quai (Angelica Sinensis)
This herb has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat gynecologic conditions for several years. Still, only one randomized clinical study of dong quai has been done to determine its effects on the symptoms of hot flashes, and this botanical therapy was not found to be useful in reducing them. This herb should not be used by women with fibroids or blood-clotting issues such as hemophilia, or by women consuming drugs that affect clotting like warfarin as it can result in bleeding complications.
With all these therapies, there are also some risks involved. People usually take herbal therapies in the form of supplement pills, and not as preparation made directly from the herb by a trained herbalist. Know that herbal supplements are not as closely regulated as prescription drugs. The quality, amount of herbal product, purity, and safety may vary between brands or even between batches of the same brand. Herbal therapies may also interact with prescription drugs, leading to dramatic changes in the effect of the botanical, the drug, or both. In order to be safe, tell your healthcare provider about all botanical therapies that you are considering.