Keep a diary of your hot flushes – Hot flushes are caused by very sudden widening of blood vessels in the skin, which is what causes that horribly intense prickly heat from the chest upwards.
If hot flushes are becoming the bane of your life and you’re affected frequently then keep a diary to record when they happen, your emotions beforehand and anything you ate prior to the flush. It may seem a little time consuming but after a couple of weeks you’ll be able to identify your triggers which will allow you to plan how to avoid them in the future.
Weigh up the pros and cons of HRT- Though Hormone replacement therapy does pose a small increased risk of breast cancer and blood clots, it can also prevent both hot flushes and night sweats along with helping to control various other menopause symptoms (in many it helps to reduce low moods, insomnia and reduces the risk of osteoporosis).
Dr Helen Currie, who is a gynaecologist and obstetrician says: ‘If you are under 60 and having menopausal symptoms the benefits outweigh the risks. But there are natural alternatives that may work’.
Eat hormone foods – Phytoestrogens is a plants oestrogen, so eating foods which contain these plant hormones may provide a similar benefit to oestrogen itself. The three main forms of plant oestrogen are Isoflavones, Lignans and Coumestans, which occur in many foods which could be incorporated into your diet.
One particular study actually found that women who ate 1.6oz of soya (rich in Isoflavone) on a daily basis, experienced a 40 per cent reduction in their hot flushes.
Good sources of Isoflavone include soya, baked beans, kidney beans, chickpeas and butter beans. Good sources of Lignans include cabbage, kale, broccoli, garlic, linseeds and flaxseeds and Coumestans can be found in bean sprouts.
Alternative remedies – There are various herbs which also contain phytoestrogens so it may be worth giving some a try. However, its worth noting that only 50 per cent of women can metabolise them so try them for around three months and if you don’t see any benefits then stop(remember to always inform your GP if you start taking anything new).
Some recommended herbal remedies to try include Agnus Castus which can combat flushes and night sweats and Black Cohosh which has a beneficial effect on progesterone levels.
Walk off stress – A U.S study recently found that menopausal women who walked for 40 minutes five times a week suffered less stress and depression than women who did not.