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The Anatomy of a Hot Flash

How to Treat Hot Flashes Naturally

Dr. Tara Allmen wants to do everything she can to help us avoid those annoying menopausal hot flashes; we can’t thank her enough! Read more from Dr. Allmen on her blog after you read about how to treat hot flashes.

The Anatomy of a Hot Flash: Treating Hot Flashes

Hot flashes – what are they and what causes them?

While nobody actually knows the mechanism for a hot flash, we do know that there is an area in the brain called the hypothalamus that regulates body temperature.

For whatever reason, during the transition through perimenopause and menopause, the hypothalamus sends signals that cause women to get hot. It starts out as an ascending flush in the chest, goes up the neck, into the face and turns your face red.

There is no rhyme or reason as to which woman will have a mild flash and which woman will have a severe one.

Genetics can play a part, though. There is a relationship between when our mothers and sisters transition and the severity of their symptoms. So now would be a good time to talk to your mother and sisters to find out more about their experiences.

Treating Hot Flashes

According to the North American Menopause Society, many women will not need any treatment for hot flashes. If hot flashes are bothersome, they can often be reduced with one or more of the lifestyle changes listed below:

  • Know what triggers your hot flashes. Identify and avoid personal hot flash triggers like external heat (such as a warm room or hair dryer), stress, hot drinks, hot or spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine, and cigarette smoking. Summer hot flashes can be their own challenge.
  • Use relaxation techniques to reduce hot flashes. Try meditation, yoga, bio-feedback, positive visualization, acupuncture, or massage.
  • Take it off. Stay cool during the day by dressing in layers. This way you can peel off as you heat up.
  • Buy pajamas that cool off. When sleeping, wear light cotton nightclothes.
  • Use sheets and garments that absorb moisture from the skin onto the surface of the fabric where it evaporates.
  • Use cool water. Wash your hands in cold water when you get a hot flash to cool down and feel refreshed.
  • Fans really do help hot flashes! Keep a small fan on your desk, by your bedside, even in your purse.
  • Keep reusable ice packs in the freezer. Keep a frozen cold pack under your pillow and turn your pillow frequently.
  • Focus on sleep. Learn techniques for getting back to sleep when awakened.
  • Practice “rescue breathing”. Take slow deep abdominal breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth at the beginning of a hot flash.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight. It really can help.

About 80 percent of women are going to experience this heat wave–hot flashes are the most common menopausal symptom.

The average duration for experiencing hot flashes is 7 years. Some women will experience flashes for over 20 years! Don’t suffer in silence, though. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor to make sure there’s not something else going on.

Don’t let your hot flashes get you DOWN. Get UP and do what you can to feel better!


Dr. Tara Allmen

Dr. Tara Allmen is one of America’s leading experts in menopausal medicine. She is a Nationally Certified Menopause Practitioner and highly respected in the medical community. Inspired to reach millions of American women over the age of 40 with accurate scientific information that can help them, Dr. Allmen has appeared numerous times on local and national television, and created an extensive library of video information available on her website, Dr. Allmen earned her bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and her medical degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Allmen lives in New York City with her husband, Lawrence M. Kimmel, their two children, and a small dog named Sadie. Credentials: - Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist - National Certified Menopause Practitioner - Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists - Dr. Oz Show Medical Advisory Board - CEO, The Allmen Foundation - Wife, Mother and Friend

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Thursday 25th of June 2015

Wonderful tips. I especially like the cold pack under the pillow. My worst is night sweats. Delightful. ;)

Dr. Tara Allmen

Friday 11th of September 2015

Hi Tammi! Glad to provide my expertise! For more helpful tips and answers to the top women's health frequently asked questions head to my website!

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