February 25, 2019 3 min read

What they are:

A hot flash is a feeling of intense body heat that can occur during the day or at night. They are a naturally occurring reaction from your body to hormonal changes, especially during perimenopause and menopause period. Depending on the cause of hot flashes, they can sometimes last for 6 to 24 months for menopause-related symptoms, or even 7 to 11 years for others. While they can be mild, moderate, or severe, hot flashes can be uncomfortable, causing discomfort or even sleep disruption.

Moona - hot flashes illustration

 

Symptoms include:

  • Sudden spread of warmth of upper body and face
  • Experiencing red, blotchy skin
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Sweating, especially in the upper body
  • Tingling in the fingers
  • A chilled feelings as hot flash lets up

Hot flashes are extremely prevalent. It’s estimated that up to 75% of women in the perimenopause or menopause period in the US report experiencing them. As such, it is all the more important for us to truly understand why they exist, to look into how to avoid having them, and the eventual future prevention.  

Triggers:

Alcohol:A very common trigger of hot flashes. All alcoholic beverages cause differing degrees of blood vessels expansion, which makes you feel warmer.

Spicy food:Similar to alcohol, many spices and ingredients that give food their heatare vasodilators that expand your blood vessels. To illustrate, anything that taste hot, or taste like heat in your mouth can cause hot flashes in your body.

Caffeine:Unlike alcohol and spicy foods, caffeine narrows blood vessels instead of widening them-- it’s a vasoconstrictor. However, caffeine slightly raises people’s heart rate, which can have the same effect in triggering a hot flash.

Smoking:When smoking, your heart rate increases naturally. Other than the increased heart rate, the warmth that comes from smoking will also increase the possibility of getting heat flashes.

Emotions/ Stress:Many women report getting hot flashes when they’re having an emotional responses. That is because intense emotions rushes the blood to the surface of our skin,  triggering a hot flash. Think about it as being red in the face when you feel angry.

Hot beverages/ hot weathers/ hair appliances/ too much clothing/ heavy blankets, sheets/ exercising right before bed:similar to the other triggers, anything that creates warmth in your body will increase the possibility of getting hot flashes.

 

How to deal with hot flashes:

Although it is not guaranteed that these methods will for sure work, below are some ideas that should serve as a good place to start and give ideas about how to get rid of hot flashes.

Intuitively, a quick fix is tocut out the things that trigger hot flashes, as mentioned above.

Other than those simple fixes, below are some other suggestions.

  • Establish a calming bedtime ritual to reduce stress
  • Practice mindfulness, be it through yoga, meditation, or guided breathing, to help your body relax
  • Sleeping cooler. There are many ways through which you can achieve this goal. You can wear more lightweight, loose-fitting clothes, use fans during the night, or to have a “chill pillow”. One such option of a chill pillow that will constantly maintains the optimal temperature isMoona. Our thermoregulated pad will keep your pillow at the desired temperature constantly, something no other similar options can claim. (To compare all of your cooling pillow options, check out our articlehere.)

 

Prevention:

Adding natural foods and supplements to your diet can help reduce hot flashes in the long term. Although the scientific effectiveness of these methods is unclear, some women report that they can be helpful. Some of these are harmless home remedies, however, some products mentioned may have side effects or may interfere with medications that you are currently taking, it is important to take the below suggestions with a grain of salt and consult your doctor before taking them.

  • Eating one or two servings of soy per day has been shown to decrease the frequency and intensity of hot flashes occurrences according to thisstudy.  
  • Consuming black cohosh supplements or related products can treat hot flashes in the short term. However, do watch out for the side effects of black cohosh if you have a liver problem.
  • Taking evening primrose supplements or related products, but side effects can include nausea and diarrhea.
  • Eating flax seeds or flaxseed-related products may help reduce hot flashes, per thisWebMD article.
  • Getting acupuncture consistently.  

TLDR:

Hot flash is a naturally occuring feeling of intense body heat, which can be uncomfortable and even sleep distracting. Triggers of hot flashes are anything that create heat and stress in your body. As such, quick fixes include removing things that can cause you to increase heat and stress.