Hot Flashes + how you can conquer them…
40 million women in the United States are currently going through menopause.
75-85% of those women are experiencing symptoms… half of them find those symptoms to be intolerable.
… so first off, just know you’re not alone.
So let’s dive in.
The average hot flash lasts around 4 minutes but may vary time to time, and person to person. When hot flashes occur in the body they are a full body vasodilation response. The muscles that make up the wall of the arteries in the body all decide to relax at the same time, allowing blood flow to move places faster and decreases your blood pressure. The increase of blood flow makes your face rosy and everything hot and heavy. The nerves that supply the skin all over your body significantly rise with sympathetic activity during a hot flash. Skin has a sympathetic response + arterioles expand causing a surge of heat to the face, neck and chest often accompanied by sweating and irritability. (Check out the research article).
Holistic Management for Hot Flashes:
- Paced Breathing (in the Himalayan yoga tradition we call this 1:1 breathing)
Inhalations match the length of exhalations. Aim to expand the breath beyond normal depths without straining the breath. Inhale deeply into the belly on a steady count that works for you, without pausing, release the exhalation to the same count. The breath should be a smooth, consistent flow of inhalations and exhalations.
52% of people reported a reduction in their hot flashes by using “paced breathing” twice daily. Check out this research!
- Change your attitude
My professor, Dr. Finn refers to hot flashes as her “power surges.” It’s all about flipping your perspective. Why do we look at menopause as an ending? Why not a start to a new beginning? Another new chapter in your life. Menopause can be your way of congratulating yourself for making it through the sticky shit that comes with life, make it an achievement. Your past has been saturated with providing for others, giving, caring… which is great, but now it’s time to receive, take care of yourself and fill your own cup. Embrace menopause, embrace this new phase of life with light and love.
“Menopause is a woman’s transition from the responsibility of biology to the freedom of opportunity”
- Avoid caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol (these may trigger a hot flash)
- Supplements: Vitamin E, Black Cohosh and biofavenoids
- Wear loose cotton clothing
- Avoid stress and hot humid conditions
- Yoga! (or any sort of regular exercise, whatever works for your body + lifestyle)
Mechanisms of cutaneous vasodilation during the postmenopausal hot flash https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21107299
Paced breathing compared with usual breathing for hot flashes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22990758