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First you get that feeling of heat creeping up. Then your face turns red and the sweating starts…
Yep, you’re having another hot flash.
While hot flashes are the most common symptom of both menopause and perimenopause — with up to 75 percent of women suffering these power surges, and up to 10 percent still experiencing them 15 years later — they can also be irritating and embarrassing and can even make it hard to sleep at night.
Luckily, there are four ways you can reduce the frequency and severity of your hot flashes naturally…
#1 – Lose the extra weight
Women in their 50s and 60s gain an average of 1.5 pounds per year — and most of that weight sticks to our stomach, hips and thighs.
So if you haven’t been serious about weight loss before, you can’t afford not to be now — because…
Women who are overweight have more hot flashes than healthy-weight women. Researchers aren’t sure about the mechanism behind this. It could be due to excess blood vessel dilation or because of an increase of heat thanks to the higher levels of fat.
Either way, it’s clear that dropping those extra pounds could help you beat those hot flashes.
#2 – Get active
If you want to say goodbye to hot flashes, you’ve got to get moving.
Research shows that exercising drastically improves the number and severity of hot flashes in menopausal women.
In fact, one study found that 55 percent of the postmenopausal women who began an aerobic training program experienced a decrease in the severity of their hot flashes.
While a Swedish study, found that the incidence of moderate-to-severe hot flashes in a physically active group of women was nearly half that reported by non-exercisers.
Moving may help you keep that extra pound a half off too!
#3 – Just breathe
Paced breathing — where you take six to eight breaths per minute for 15 minutes twice per day has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes.
To perform these exercises, breathe in slowly through your nose for at least 5 seconds and out slowly through your mouth for at least 5 seconds. You’ll know you’re doing it right if you see your abdomen rise with each breath in and feel your lungs inflate.
You can practice paced breathing in the car, at home watching TV and before you go to bed at night. Here’s a video to help you get started.
While one session a day is helpful, according to studies, women who perform pace breathing exercises twice a day experience a 10 percent higher reduction in number of hot flashes than women who only practice their paced breathing once per day.
#4 – Don’t suck it up buttercup, take a buttercup supplement
Black cohosh is a member of the buttercup family and one of the most studied supplements when it comes to helping women overcome the hot flashes that go along with menopause.
The underground part of the plants including the roots and rhizome are used for medicinal purposes and may contain plant-based estrogens.
Look for products containing the most-studied dose: an extract standardized to contain 1 milligram of triterpene glycosides, calculated as 27-deoxyactein, per 20-milligram tablet.
Take 20 milligrams twice daily or 40 milligrams once a day.
Black cohosh could potentially have a negative side effect on the liver so if you have liver disease, talk to your doctor before taking the supplement. If you develop symptoms of liver illness while taking black cohosh (e.g., abdominal pain, dark urine, or jaundice), discontinue use immediately and contact your doctor.
So, if you’re tired of having your own personal summers, use the four tips above to get natural hot flash help and feel cool and in control again.
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- Exercise at Menopause: A Critical Difference — Medscape
- Abdominal adiposity and hot flashes among midlife women — Menopause
- Paced Respiration for Hot Flashes? — The Female Patient
- Paced breathing compared with usual breathing for hot flashes — Menopause
- Black Cohosh — National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
- Actaea racemosa — Wikipedia