They come on suddenly and without any warning; hot flashes descend upon you seemingly out of the blue. Are you stuck having to deal with the discomfort and embarrassment while your hormones run amok? Hot flashes are generally caused by those pesky fluctuating hormones but you may also notice certain other actions trigger a hot flash or increase its intensity. Knowing your body is part of understanding any patterns you may experience during menopause and the triggers that tend to aggravate hot flashes in some women.
Think about the last few weeks and the times you had those hot flashes. Keep a journal handy and note when those hot flashes occur and what if any triggers may have been present. You might notice a pattern over time. The following are ten common triggers of hot flashes outside of hormones:
1. Alcohol can trigger a mild reaction such as a flushed face, or bring on a hot flash. While some experts point out the health benefits of an occasional glass of wine, you might be better off cutting back or eliminating altogether. Try a glass of grape juice or at least top up your wine with soda water for a refreshing sprizter.
2. Diet pills send the body into overdrive by falsely stimulating the metabolism and increasing heart rate. Skip the pills and begin a healthy eating and exercise regimen with your doctorís help.
3. Caffeine in that must have morning latte might be doing you more harm than good. Replace your coffee with decaf or try green and herbal teas as your new pick me up.
4. Spicy or hot food, either in intensity or degree will heat you up in more ways than one. Cutting back on these foods may help to keep your hot flashes to a minimum.
5. Hot tubs and saunas can be wonderful for relaxing but if you notice any dizziness or nausea get out and take a break. You may only have to shorten your time limits or try to turn down the temperature if you are using your own tub at home.
6. Hot showers feel great but they keep your body temperature elevated long after youíve stopped. If you perspire after your shower, itís a good idea to try shorter and less heated showers.
7. Hot beds and hot rooms mean you sleep less deeply and may trigger hot flashes during the night or night sweats. Keep your room cooler and remove a layer or two from the bed for greater comfort.
8. Hot weather might trigger hot flashes, but that doesnít mean you have to hide indoors. Limit your sun exposure (and save your skin!) and save more physical activities for early morning or evening when the heat is not as intense.
9. Stress and anger can trigger a hot flash when youíre fighting the traffic, dealing with a difficult boss or a sulky teen. Easier said than done, but finding ways to cut down on stress may help alleviate hot flashes.
10. Smoking is attributed to many negatives and causing hot flashes in some women. If you are having trouble quitting, talk to your doctor for ways to cut down and cut out the habit.
We canít eliminate hot flashes completely but knowing theses common triggers can help us spot patterns and take back some control from our hot flashes.
Menopause, Your Doctor, and You